Mr. Powell's defense attorneys subpoenaed the mayor, who testified during the capital-murder trial's fourth day in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Mr. Powell, 42, is charged in the Nov. 11 arson fire at 814 St. John Ave. that killed his on-and-off girlfriend, her disabled mother, and two children.
If convicted, Mr. Powell faces the death penalty.
Killed in the blazed were Mary Rose McCollum, 33, Rose Mary McCollum, Ms. McCollum's adopted son, Jamal, 4, and her cousin, Sanaa' Thomas, 2.
Mr. Finkbeiner said the decision to demolish a home is made because it presents a hazard to neighbors' "health, safety, and welfare." The director of the city's Department of Neighborhoods is responsible for making such decisions, he said.
"The city has a neighborhoods department with a director, and that director makes decisions every day on what houses should be torn down in the city," the mayor said, adding that the city razes 300 homes annually.
Mr. Thebes also questioned the mayor on comments he made to the media the day of the fire - specifically, that Mr. Finkbeiner said a suspect had been identified and would be "aggressively pursued."
Mr. Finkbeiner admitted making the statements, but said he had no further contact with the investigation.
The mayor was one of two witnesses the defense called. Earlier in the day, Mr. Thebes argued for the mayor's presence, saying that Mr. Powell "was on trial for his life," and that the mayor would be "merely inconvenienced by walking a block."
Judge Gary Cook, saying that he would rather error to the side of caution, ruled that Mr. Finkbeiner would have to appear as a witness.
Also testifying on Mr. Powell's behalf was a voice-identification expert who was called to authenticate a recording prosecutors had introduced into evidence earlier.
David Maraisy, owner of an audio studio and a senior lecturer at the University of Toledo, testified that he ran several tests comparing the taped messages and a sample of Mr. Powell's voice. The results were "inconclusive," he said.
Both the defense and the prosecutors concluded their cases yesterday.
Earlier in the day, Toledo police Detective Jay Gast concluded testimony begun Wednesday by speaking about his interviews with Mr. Powell and Mr. Powell's brothers, and describing both Mr. Powell's and Ms. McCollum's telephone records from the night of the fire.
Detective Gast, the department's lead investigator for the case, said that over several hours before the fire broke out - shortly before 3 a.m. on Nov. 11 - 90 phone calls were made to Ms. McCollum from either Mr. Powell's phone or his brother's phone.
No phone calls were made to Ms. McCollum after 2:50 a.m. that night, the detective said.
Prosecutors' final witness was Mr. Powell's daughter, Markesha Campbell, 20, who testified that her father called her the evening before the fire to find out where she and her young daughter were. Ms. Campbell, who said it was not unusual to talk to her father, testified that she often spent time at 814 St. John Ave., but was not there that night.
Mr. Powell's attorneys and prosecutors will present closing arguments today. The jury of nine women and four men, including one alternate, will then will begin deliberations.
Judge Gary Cook said the jury will be sequestered until a verdict is reached.
Contact Erica Blake at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.