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Published: Saturday, 7/29/2006

Toledoan found guilty in Waterville man's slaying

Jesse Morris, 25, entered into a plea agreement in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for his role in the October, 2005, homicide of a Waterville man.

Morris, of Orchard Street, pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of aggravated robbery in the death of James Steinhurst, 62.

The one count of aggravated robbery to which Morris pleaded guilty was in connection with Mr. Steinhurst.

The other was for a similar robbery two days later in which a victim was taken to a house, beaten, and robbed of a baseball hat and money.

Morris was found guilty by Judge Charles Wittenberg and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Morris has agreed to testify against his wife, Christina, who is scheduled for trial Aug. 8, and co-defendant Lonnie Scurles, who is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 25.

Christina Morris and Scurles were charged with murder and aggravated robbery in Mr. Steinhurst's death.

Mr. Steinhurst was beaten about the head and neck Oct. 18 during what authorities termed a set-up robbery on Orchard in South Toledo.

Authorities believe Christina Morris took Mr. Steinhurst to the Morrises' Orchard residence for sexual favors. Instead, Mr. Steinhurst was beaten and robbed.

Mr. Steinhurst went home to Waterville after the beating, but later lost consciousness. He died in University Medical Center on Oct. 19.

The Morrises and Scurles were indicted on felonious assault and aggravated robbery charges for the similar incident that occurred Oct. 20.

Authorities said a 30-year-old Toledo man picked up the woman on Broadway and went to the residence, where he was struck repeatedly on the head.

Scurles also was indicted for an attack on a 30-year-old woman Aug. 5, 2005, at Broadway and Colburn Street in which she was assaulted and her purse stolen while she was waiting for a bus.

He was charged with one count each of felonious assault and aggravated robbery.

Scurles, in addition, was indicted on a robbery charge for allegedly punching a Blade circulation worker Sept. 16 in the 1700 block of Broadway and taking his wallet.

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