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Witness recalls woman's killing in store robbery

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Pedro Diaz is on trial for aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the 2004 death of Misada Shalan at a carryout.

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The daughter and sister of Misada Shalan wept yesterday as a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury heard the recordings of 911 calls reporting the shooting of Mrs. Shalan during the robbery of a North Toledo carryout owned by her husband.

The audio tapes were played during the first day of the trial of Pedro A. Diaz, who is charged with aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the shooting death of Mrs. Shalan, 47, while she was working at Tamara's Carry Out, 328 Columbus St.

Her husband, Fuad, owns the carryout, which is near North Summit Street. He was at the convenience store at the time of his wife's murder. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Prosecutors contend Mr. Diaz entered the carryout with Ronald Whitfield, Jr., on Jan. 10, 2004, to rob it and fired a handgun into the ceiling.

Annon Hamad, the victim's daughter, and Sadiya Adya, who was a sister, wiped tears from their eyes as the recordings from three people were played, including one from Robert Miller, a neighbor who went to the store immediately after the shooting.

An out-of-breath Mr. Miller told the 911 operator that he heard gunfire from the carryout and watched from the window of his home as two robbers fled in a black sport utility vehicle.

"The lady has been shot. She's hurt bad. She's bleeding bad. I saw blood on her head. I saw blood all over the store," said Mr. Miller, who lives about 40 yards from the carryout.

Mr. Miller, who was called as a witness for the prosecution, told the jury he was watching television about 10:25 p.m. when he heard three to four gunshots. He said he used a cordless phone in his home to call 911, taking it to the store, where he saw the victim slumped over a table.

He said the gunmen got into the front and rear passenger seats of the SUV and went south on Erie Street.

Matt Fech, an attorney representing Mr. Diaz, asked the witness whether he saw one or two people leave the carryout. Mr. Miller paused for at least a minute to think about the question, then responded that there were two men.

Whitfield, who was indicted on charges that included death-penalty specifications, entered into a plea agreement last year and was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison for aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.

Whitfield is expected to testify today that Mr. Diaz was an accomplice in the robbery.

He told Judge James Bates, when the plea agreement was accepted by the court, he entered the store with the defendant while a third person waited outside in the get-away vehicle.

Whitfield said he fired a 30-caliber rifle into Mrs. Shalan's head after the accomplice fired a handgun three times into the ceiling. They fled with money from the cash register.

The third suspect, Yvan Garcia, was charged but has not been arrested.

The black Jeep Cherokee police believe was used in the robbery was found later that evening on Bronson Avenue. The stolen vehicle had been set on fire and was destroyed.

Officer Chad Culpert, a crime-scene investigator with the Toledo Police Department, testified that he recovered three shell casings from a 38-caliber pistol and a casing from the 30-caliber rifle on the floor near the door.

Officer Culpert said two of three rounds from the pistol went into the ceiling, and the third went into a cigarette display case.

The trial is to resume today.

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