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Published: Thursday, 8/4/2005

Murder trial headed to jury

A jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court was expected to hear closing arguments today in the trial of a man accused of killing his employer in a dispute over money.

Eric Babos, 42, is charged with murder in the Dec. 15 fatal shooting of John Riebe, 39, in his Sylvania Township home.

A self-employed air conditioning and heating repairman, Mr. Riebe, 39, was found by his daughters about 3:20 p.m. that day when they returned from classes at Arbor Hills Junior High School.

The audiotape of a police interview with Mr. Babos was played to jurors yesterday during the testimony of township police Detective Robert Colwell, who investigated the murder. Mr. Babos was interviewed in the hours after the slaying.

On cross-examination, Jerome Phillips, a defense attorney representing Mr. Babos, quizzed the detective about efforts to question a man who attended a party in the home five days earlier and purportedly was seen with a handgun.

Detective Colwell said the man was questioned later, but a DNA sample was not obtained from him so that it could be compared to evidence taken from the victim's home.

Mr. Riebe was shot seven times with a 38-caliber handgun in the living room of his home at 5129 Talmadge Rd. Detective Colwell said one of the bullets went through a guitar that the victim apparently was playing when he was shot.

Mr. Babos of 5055 Golden St. assisted the victim in subcontracting work for a Toledo heating and air conditioning firm in the days before the shooting, and was owed $150.

The owner of that firm testified earlier that Mr. Babos placed phone calls from the victim's home shortly after 3 p.m. on the day of the shooting, demanding payment of the money.

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