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Published: Thursday, 4/7/2005

Triplett admitted killing, trial is told

A woman testifying in Walter Triplett's aggravated murder trial told a jury yesterday that Triplett told her he killed a Toledo teenager in a robbery of drugs and money.

Chandara Featherman was the second witness who testified about hearing a confession from Triplett in the Nov. 20, 1998, beating death of 17-year-old Paul Wiggins. "He told me he literally beat the hell out of him," Ms. Featherman said during Triplett's trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Wiggins' body was found Nov. 22, 1998, in Triplett's second-floor apartment at 3327 North Detroit Ave. Triplett, 51, was arrested three days later and eventually indicted for the murder. However, prosecutors dismissed the case in March, 1999, because a witness refused to testify.

The Toledo Police Department cold case unit reopened the investigation in January, 2003, when a witness came forward with new information. Triplett was later indicted on aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges.

Ms. Featherman said Triplett told her he was the killer after the murder charge was dropped in 1999.

She said Triplett admitted to arguing with young Wiggins, leaving the apartment to get a blunt object from a car, then attacking the victim from behind. She said he told her he killed the teenager to get his drugs and money.

Julie Cox, a forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation, told the jury Tuesday she conducted a DNA analysis of blood taken from the defendant's tennis shoe after he was arrested in 1998. She said the evidence matched the DNA of the victim.

Dr. Diane Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner, is to be called as a witness when the trial resumes today before Judge Thomas Osowik.

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