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Published: Wednesday, 11/23/2005

Vigil set for slaying victim

Leal Leal
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Family and friends will hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. tomorrow in memory of a Toledo man found shot to death Nov. 19 in a parked car in South Toledo.

Gilbert "Gilberto" Leal, 50, of 1915 Wright Ave., was shot five times in the front seat of a car parked in the 500 block of Daniels Avenue near South Avenue. He had not been robbed when his body was found slumped over in the front seat about 7:45 a.m. by a city leaf-sweeping crew.

Lt. Bill Moton said yesterday police have not yet identified a suspect or a motive for the shooting of Leal, who was convicted of the 1978 murder of 30-year-old John Skelly during a robbery at a North Toledo nightclub.

Leal's life sentence was commuted 13 years ago this month by then-Gov. George Voinovich.

His sister, Jane Ledesma of Dallas, said the family will hold the candlelight vigil on Thanksgiving Day to "comfort ourselves and the community," many of whom have offered their support in the wake of Leal's death.

Ms. Ledesma said the vigil at Daniels and South is also being held to call attention to the murder in hopes of getting anyone with information to contact Toledo police.

His wife, Mary, and his mother, also named Mary, will speak at the vigil, she said.

The campaign to release Leal from prison included candlelight vigils as well as letters to the governor. Courts ruled on three occasions he did not receive a fair trial and two people involved in the robbery ultimately stated Leal was not with them.

While in prison, Leal obtained an associate's degree and worked after his release as a paralegal for the Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

He was sent back to prison in 1994 for violating conditions of his parole, including an assault, a weapons violation, and positive drug tests.

Since his release, he has had various misdemeanor run-ins with police.

His daughter said he was employed as an interpreter for a company on Reynolds Road and was taking classes at the University of Toledo prior to his death.



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