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Published: Tuesday, 12/11/2007

Man indicted in Thanksgiving murder

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo man in custody on obstruction charges was indicted yesterday for the Thanksgiving Day murder in a central Toledo home.

Christopher Burleson, 42, of 1706 Joffre Ave. is charged with one count each of murder, aggravated robbery, and having a weapon while under disability, each with a gun specification, as well as obstructing justice. He was also indicted by a Lucas County grand jury for domestic violence in an unrelated case.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Burleson is accused of killing Marc LaShawn Draper, 36, in his home at 1638 Freeman St. Authorities said Mr. Draper died of a gunshot wound in the left side of his head.

"It appeared as though the incident stemmed from a robbery," said Toledo police Detective Lawrence Anderson. "It appears to be a robbery gone bad and someone was killed."

Burleson was arrested Nov. 30 for obstructing justice and has been in custody in the Lucas County Jail. Detective Anderson said that the charge evolved after it was determined that Burleson was "at or near the scene."

He declined to comment further on the investigation.

Police were called to the Freeman Street home just before 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Mr. Draper, who was the father of a 4-year-old, was cooking dinner for the holiday and was on the phone when he was shot, authorities said.

Money was strewn about the house, and police recovered a handgun in the backyard.

Mr. Draper's father, Ronnie, Sr., 58, who owns the house, was struck on the head during the incident and was treated at Toledo Hospital. He is recovering from the injury, Detective Anderson said.

The elder Mr. Draper could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Family members who were interviewed at the time of Mr. Draper's death said that he is the second in his family to be murdered. His older brother, Ronnie Draper, Jr., was 22 when he was found in 1991 under a railroad viaduct at Post and Albion streets. He had gunshot wounds in the back of his head. He died two days later in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. The murder was unsolved for 10 years.

The domestic violence charge against Burleson involves the 29-year-old mother of his two children. He is accused of punching Suzette Smith after an argument on Oct. 30.

Because he has prior domestic violence arrests, Burleson is charged with a felony for the recent offense.



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