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Published: Wednesday, 8/3/2005

Daughter says suspect complained about pay

The teenage daughter of John Riebe testified yesterday that Eric Babos had exchanged words with her father about wages in the weeks before Mr. Riebe was murdered.

Testifying during Mr. Babos' murder trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Tracie Riebe, 14, said Mr. Babos often complained about how much her father paid him. A self-employed heating and air-conditioning installer, Mr. Riebe employed Mr. Babos as an assistant who was owed $150 when Mr. Riebe was killed.

Mr. Riebe, 39, was shot to death in his home on Dec. 15 at 5129 Talmadge Rd. in Sylvania Township. Tracie and her younger sister found their father about 3:30 p.m. on the floor of the living room when they returned from classes at Arbor Hills Junior High School.

She said Mr. Babos, 42, called the home about 4 p.m. and demanded payment of the $150 while police were in the home investigating the crime. Tracie said she told the defendant that her father was busy, but she didn't reveal his condition.

In earlier testimony, the owner and manager of a Toledo heating and air-conditioning firm who hired the victim to install furnaces said the defendant made calls from the Riebe residence shortly after 3 p.m. that day, demanding payment for the money owed by the victim.

The owner testified that he received a telephone call about 4 p.m. from Mr. Babos in which he said Mr. Riebe had been hospitalized.

Jurors yesterday also heard a forensic scientist testify about testing that was performed on clothing that police obtained from the defendant.

Dan Davison of the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation said the cuff of the left sleeve of the flannel jacket tested positive for gunshot residue.

Judge Gary Cook is presiding over the trial, which is expected to continue today.



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