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Published: 6/22/2007

Robert Jobe indicted in Toledo police detective's fatal shooting

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

After a months-long process to determine whether he would stand trial as an adult, Robert Jobe entered the Lucas County Common Pleas Court system yesterday after being indicted on murder charges.

A county grand jury indicted the 15-year-old North Toledoan on one count each of aggravated murder and murder, each with a gun specification.

He is charged in the Feb. 21 shooting death of Toledo police vice Detective Keith Dressel.

The differences between the charges are both in proof needed and the penalty faced.

To convict the accused of aggravated murder, prosecutors must prove that the teenager knew at the time of the shooting, or had reasonable grounds to know, that the victim was a police officer.

The state also must prove that the teenager purposely caused Detective Dressel s death.

A murder conviction is obtained if the state proves that the teenager was responsible for an act of violence that resulted in the victim s death.

The maximum penalty for conviction on either of the charges is life in prison.

An aggravated murder conviction can put the suspect behind bars for life without parole, while the sentence for a murder conviction is 15 years to life in prison.

Ohio law does not allow the death penalty for juveniles.

Prosecutor Julia Bates explained that multiple charges are filed so the triers of fact, whether a judge or jury, are able to consider alternative evidence and alternative theories.

She declined to talk specifically about the case, but said that often multiple charges are filed to provide options.

There could be two alternative theories that result in the same conduct, the same conclusion, she said. Without having both charges, then justice would fail.

Detective Dressel was killed after he and his partners pulled up to two young men in the 1400 block of Ontario Street just before 2 a.m. The teenagers were suspected of violating curfew or taking part in a drug transaction.

When the officers confronted the teenagers and identified themselves as police officers, the teenagers ran into the fog in opposite directions.

According to police, Detective Dressel caught up with the Jobe youth, they struggled, and the teenager fired.

Detective Dressel died about a half hour later in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

He was the first city police officer killed in the line of duty since 1970.

The indictment occurred in Common Pleas Court after an extensive hearing in Juvenile Court that stretched over three months to determine whether the teenager should be tried as an adult.

Retired Juvenile Court Judge James Ray announced his decision June 11 to send the boy who turned 15 two weeks before the shooting to adult court.

Since then, the teenager has been held in Lucas County jail in a cell separate from the rest of the adult population.

Attorney Ann Baronas, who represented the teenager during the Juvenile Court proceedings, said the charges were expected, adding that filing alternative charges gives the state a better chance of proving its case.

That means if they can t prove aggravated murder, they will try and prove straight murder. It s not unusual, she said.

Ms. Baronas said she hopes to stay on as the youth s attorney, but said that will be a decision for the judge.

The case should be assigned to a judge this morning, according to the County Clerk of Courts office.

The teenager s mother, Diane Jobe, declined to comment when reached by phone.

Proceedings in the case against Sherman Powell have long been under way in Common Pleas Court.

Mr. Powell, 19, of 772 Bush St., who police officers said was with the Jobe youth when the officers stopped the pair, will stand trial July 23.

Mr. Powell is charged with several drug and obstructing-justice charges, including carrying a concealed weapon, possession of crack cocaine, trafficking in cocaine, obstructing justice, and obstructing official business.

He is accused of being armed with a loaded 9mm handgun and carrying crack cocaine when he was arrested, police said.

Because of his age, Mr. Powell was immediately charged in adult court after his February arrest.

Contact Erica Blake at:eblake@theblade.comor 419-213-2134.



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