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Published: Saturday, 11/5/2005

Suspect's rape trial ends with hung jury

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Colvin Colvin
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A Toledo man whose trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for rape and kidnapping ended yesterday in a mistrial has been indicted on aggravated murder for the separate slayings of two prostitutes and the rape of another.

Dellmus Colvin, 46, was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury on four counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Jackie Simpson and Melissa Weber, whose bodies were found in April, 2003, and May, respectively, in North Toledo.

The indictments, which were filed yesterday, include specifications that call for possible death-penalty sentences in each murder. He also was indicted for the rape of a prostitute in 2003.

A truck driver, Colvin was found not guilty last night of felonious assault and aggravated robbery in the April 2, 2004, attack on a 40-year-old Toledo woman.

However, the jurors, who deliberated about 5 1/2 hours, could not reach a decision on rape and kidnapping charges. Judge Denise Ann Dartt declared a mistrial about 7:30 p.m. after jurors said they couldn't reach a decision on the two counts.

Prosecutors said investigators who analyzed evidence that was used in the rape and kidnapping trial determined that Colvin's DNA was consistent with that found on the two murder victims and the second rape victim.

Authorities said the circumstances in the crimes were strikingly similar, including that the victims were prostitutes and the two women who were murdered died from strangulation and asphyxiation.

"He seems to be killing women for sexual gratification and entertainment. In my opinion, that is the definition of a serial killer," said Timothy Braun, a county assistant prosecutor.

Ms. Simpson, 33, whose last known address was 2318 North Holland-Sylvania Rd., had been missing several months before an employee at a business at 4200 Creekside Ave. found her body in April 16, 2003, under bushes on the property.

Ms. Weber, the mother of three who most recently lived on Segur Avenue, was found May 9 in a vacant truck terminal behind 1045 Matzinger Rd. in North Toledo, about two miles from where Ms. Simpson's body was dumped.

In addition to aggravated murder, Colvin was indicted on two counts of kidnapping in the deaths of the women.

Sgt. Steve Forrester was not ready to use the words "serial killer," but acknowledged the similarities in crimes could cause someone to think that way.

"The official definition of a serial murderer is three or more killings. But when you look at the modus operandi with the rapes and murders, we think we could be dealing with a serial killer,'' he said.

Sergeant Forrester said information about the defendant would be disseminated to law enforcement agencies in the areas where Colvin was known to travel in his job as a truck driver.

"Our best hope is that someone from out in the public will take advantage of the Crime Stopper money or just out of the decency in their hearts to let us know what is going on with Dellmus Colvin."

Theresa Weber, the mother of Ms. Weber, said last night that she was relieved that Colvin was indicted for the murder of her daughter and the other victims.

Investigators said Colvin's DNA was found under Ms. Weber's fingernails.

"She was a fighter. She probably fought him off. She and the others didn't deserve to die. He didn't have the right to do anything of the things that he did to them," she said.

In the trial that ended yesterday, Colvin was accused of beating and sexually assaulting the woman in the cab of a tractor-trailer in North Toledo.

The woman, a prostitute, told police she got into the truck at Summit and Magnolia streets, was punched in the ribs and face, and threatened with a knife after she went with him to a warehouse in Oregon.

Keith Mitchell, Colvin's attorney, told jurors in his closing argument that his client had consensual sex with her, and she threatened to go to police if he didn't give her more money.

J. Christopher Anderson, a county assistant prosecutor who tried the case, said he was disappointed with the acquittal on the two counts, and a decision would be made next week on whether to proceed with a second trial.

"Cases of this nature are very difficult. We believe we had enough evidence or we would haven't gone to trial," he said.

The death-penalty specifications in the latest indictments against Colvin alleged that the murders were committed in the commission of a kidnapping and in the course of the commission of killing two or more people.

The new cases were assigned to Judge Thomas Osowik. An arraignment has not been scheduled. Colvin is being held on a $200,000 bond.

Contact Mark Reiter at:

markreiter@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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