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Standing shackled between his two appointed attorneys and wearing the brown jumpsuit for inmates of the Lucas County Jail, Robert Jobe pleaded not guilty yesterday to murder charges in the death of a police detective.
The 15-year-old North Toledoan was arraigned 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.
Facing life in prison, the teen softly answered the questions posed by Judge Charles Doneghy of Lucas County Common Pleas Court and nodded briefly to his mother and brother before being led back to the jail. Judge Doneghy ordered a $500,000 bond and set a July 17 hearing date, but refrained from setting a trial date.
Sherman Powell, who police said was with the Jobe youth when the shooting occurred, will stand trial July 23 in another courtroom. Mr. Powell, 19, of 772 Bush St., was arraigned in May on several drug and obstructing justice charges.
Mr. Powell is accused of being armed with a loaded 9 mm handgun and carrying crack cocaine when he was arrested, police said.
Assistant Prosecutor Dean Mandros declined to comment on any plea negotiations involving Mr. Powell.
"The state cannot force a defendant to testify," he said. "Sherman Powell has a trial date of July 23 as to his charges. We'll just have to see how his case ends up."
Attorney Ann Baronas, who along with David Klucas was appointed yesterday to represent the Jobe youth, said the defense team plans to file several motions in the next three weeks. Likely included in the motions filed would be requests to suppress some of the teen's statements to police and a change in venue, she said.
"It's a very hot case," Ms. Baronas said. "There has been a lot of media coverage and a lot of people may have opinions."
The charges in Common Pleas Court came after an extensive hearing in Juvenile Court to determine whether the teen should be tried as an adult. Retired Juvenile Court Judge James Ray announced his decision June 11 - after a hearing that stretched over three months - to send the Jobe youth to adult court.
Ms. Baronas, who represented the teen during the juvenile court proceedings, said despite his months spent incarcerated after Detective Dressel's death, the teen's right to a speedy trial began as of June 11, the date he was certified.
Although as a juvenile, Jobe cannot face the death penalty, he can serve up to life in prison without parole if convicted of aggravated murder.
To prove aggravated murder, prosecutors must show that the teen knew, or at least had reasonable grounds to know, that the victim was a police officer and that the youth purposely caused the detective's death.
A murder conviction is obtained if the state proves that the Jobe youth was responsible for an act of violence that resulted in the victim's death.
Detective Dressel was the first police officer killed in the line of duty since 1970.
According to police, he and other undercover detectives came across the Jobe teen and Mr. Powell just before 2 a.m. on the 1400 block of Ontario Street. The officers approached the two young men with suspicions that the teens were violating curfew or engaging in drug activity.
After officers confronted the teenagers, both young men 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 at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.
Detective Dressel's family, who had attended most of the court proceedings in juvenile court, did not attend yesterday's hearing.
Although no date was set for the trial, Judge Doneghy said yesterday that he would like to set a trial date for the case sometime in early October. Mr. Mandros said the state would be ready to move forward.
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