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Published: Thursday, 3/24/2005

Shotgun hit victim at close range, coroner says

A Toledo man accused in the shooting death of Robert Badgett is expected to testify when the defendant's trial resumes today in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Lamonte Hopings, 28, of 1110 Coventry Ave., is charged with aggravated murder for killing Badgett May 19 during a dispute on the porch at 3103 Parkwood Ave. A jury began hearing testimony in the case Monday.

Witnesses said that Badgett, 24, went to the duplex to defend his 15-year-old nephew who earlier in the day exchanged words with Hopings and others who had gathered for a family cookout. Hopings' mother lived in the lower unit.

Hopings' attorney, Mark Jacobs, told the jury in his opening statement that the victim became aggressive and threatening, and tugged underneath his shirt at his waistband, indicating he may have had a gun.

The nephew, who lived in the upper unit with his mother, was upset about a break-in that occurred at his home several hours before the shooting, and made offensive comments to Hopings.

At the request of his mother, the nephew apologized to the Hopings. But then he went to Badgett's nearby home at 554 West Central Ave. and vented to his uncle about the apology he was forced to make. Badgett went to the duplex to discuss the situation.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy county coroner, testified yesterday that Badgett was shot in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun at close range, probably three to four feet from the barrel of the gun.

Detective Gerald Schriefer, of the Toledo police scientific investigation unit, said blood spatter patterns and other evidence indicated the gunman fired from the porch downward into the victim.

Detective Schriefer said an analysis of the crime scene indicated the victim was on the lower steps.

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