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Published: Wednesday, 12/3/2008

Teen admits obstructing justice after store slaying

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dymon Bolton, left, appears with his attorney, Lorin Zaner, as he pleads guilty to lying after the slaying of Matthew Dugan Aug. 13. Dymon Bolton, left, appears with his attorney, Lorin Zaner, as he pleads guilty to lying after the slaying of Matthew Dugan Aug. 13.
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Dymon Bolton "just wanted to hang out with his friends" the morning of Aug. 13, according to his attorney, and that put him unknowingly outside a BP convenience store during a murder.

But while he wasn't privy to any plans to rob that gas station at Secor Road and Dorr Street or a decision to shoot the clerk who manned the counter, Bolton purposefully hindered the investigation by lying to investigators after the fact.

Bolton, 18, of 623 Ranch Drive, pleaded guilty in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to two counts of obstructing justice.

He could get up to 10 years in prison when sentenced Dec. 22 by Judge Denise Ann Dartt.

"He was just a young kid who was trying to get along with other kids to fit in," attorney Lorin Zaner said. "He really didn't do anything."

Bolton was convicted of providing false information to police when questioned about the murder of Matthew Dugan, who was shot once in the back of the head by a man robbing the gas station.

Anthony Belton, 22, of 934 Cuthbert Rd., is charged with one count of aggravated murder and two counts of aggravated robbery. He faces the death penalty when he goes on trial March 2.

Also charged is Tony Bivens, Jr.,

17, of 1024 Ranch Drive, who authorities believe to have been the driver of the getaway vehicle. The teenager is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 26 on one count of complicity to commit aggravated robbery, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Mr. Zaner said his client didn't know the other two men planned to rob the gas station. He said his client has since been threatened by at least one of the defendants that "snitches get stitches."

When questioned in court by Dean Mandros, chief of the criminal division for the prosecutor's office, Bolton admitted he lied to police several times when questioned Aug. 13, just hours after the murder. He said he told investigators he was elsewhere the morning of the murder and denied seeing Mr. Belton with a gun.

"So you knew that there was an aggravated murder or murder that took place at that gas station when you were interviewed on that 13th day of August, correct?" Mr. Mandros asked.

"Yes," he replied.

Bolton, who does not have a felony record as an adult, then admitted he told police that he was with someone else that morning.

"At the time you made that statement, you knew that Mr. Belton had committed either a murder or an aggravated murder?" Mr. Mandros asked.

"Yes."

According to police, Mr. Belton entered the convenience store, pointed the gun at Mr. Dugan, and demanded money. Mr. Dugan handed the assailant an undetermined amount of cash and was ordered to get the robber telephone calling cards from behind the counter.

Mr. Dugan, 34, who had worked at the store only two months, was shot once when he turned to comply.

Mr. Zaner said his client knew Mr. Dugan and "feels awful about the whole thing." He said he was grateful to the prosecutor's office "for doing the right thing" when bringing charges against his client.

"I think the charges completely reflect the nature of his involvement," Mr. Mandros said after the hearing. He added that the plea did not include any agreement as to sentencing.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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