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Testimony of teenager sought for father's East Toledo murder trial

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Ramadan

Jeremy Wadsworth Enlarge

Relatives of a teenage boy severely beaten three months ago plan to send him to the safety of his home country of Lebanon, but first Lucas County prosecutors hope a judge will allow the teen to testify in the murder and attempted murder case against his father, Youssef Ramadan.

About one month after being declared incompetent to stand trial for the murder of his wife and assault on his son, Mr. Ramadan will return to court today. He is charged with two counts each of murder and felonious assault and one count of attempt to commit murder. He faces up to life in prison.

Judge Frederick McDonald will review a motion by the prosecutor's office asking that the 14-year-old victim be allowed to testify in a videotaped deposition about what happened Sept. 26 when he was beaten and his mother, Mirvat Ramadan, 40, was stabbed to death.

Mr. Ramadan, 44, of 1002 Front St. has been receiving treatment at the Toledo campus of Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare System since the Nov. 20 competency hearing. He is scheduled to be evaluated within one year to determine whether he has been rehabilitated.

In a motion filed Dec. 13, Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Miller requested a deposition of Mr. Ramadan's son, saying the state anticipates using the teenager's testimony. Specifically, the motion said the state plans to present evidence that the teenager called 911 and "identified the murderer and [his] attacker as [his] father."

The motion said the young victim and his 13-year-old sister plan to be transferred "back to relatives [who] live in the country of Lebanon as soon as possible." Pointing out that a "material witness with relevant information relative to this murder case" would be unavailable for a trial, Mr. Miller asked that the teenager's deposition be taken for possible later use.

Mr. Miller confirmed today's hearing is to determine whether the deposition would be taken. He declined further comment.

In a response filed Dec. 18, defense attorney Jon Richardson opposed the deposition, saying his client has a right to be present at the questioning, both physically and mentally. He suggested the teenager's departure be postponed until Mr. Ramadan is found to have been restored to competency.

"A fundamental Constitutional right is that the defendant has the right to be present at a critical stage of the proceeding, and to cross-examine an alleged eye- witness and an alleged victim is a critical stage," Mr. Richardson said. "How can he be present if he is not considered to be competent?"

Mr. Ramadan was arrested Sept. 26 after eluding authorities for hours. He is accused of fatally stabbing his wife and assaulting his son, who apparently was trying to stop the attack.

Mrs. Ramadan died at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where she was taken after the stabbing.

The teenager suffered a broken jaw, a laceration to the face, and bruises.

His younger sister was not at home at the time of the incident.

The siblings have been kept in an undisclosed, safe location.

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

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