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Published: Thursday, 12/4/2008

Man guilty of fatal July shooting of South Toledo cyclist

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dounche Jones listens to testimony during his trial. Yesterday, after three days of testimony from 19 witnesses and 40 pieces of evidence, the jury found the 20-year-old guilty of killing David Babcock, 46, in July. Jones could get an 18-year-to- life sentence. Dounche Jones listens to testimony during his trial. Yesterday, after three days of testimony from 19 witnesses and 40 pieces of evidence, the jury found the 20-year-old guilty of killing David Babcock, 46, in July. Jones could get an 18-year-to- life sentence.
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When Renee Long learned the man who killed her fianc in July on a darkened street in South Toledo was found guilty of the murder, she continued to struggle with a mix of emotions.

"I'm glad it's guilty, but it doesn't change a whole lot," she said while leaving the Lucas County Common Pleas courtroom yesterday.

Specifically, it doesn't change that David Babcock's family will continue life without him.

Dounche Jones, 20, of 235 Western Ave. was found guilty yesterday of murder with a firearm specification for the July 15 shooting death of Mr. Babcock.

Over three days, 19 witnesses testified and 40 pieces of evidence were shown to the jury of nine women and three men. They returned a verdict after two hours of deliberation. Jones may get 18 years to life in prison when Judge James Jensen sentences him Dec. 12.

"This was a heinous crime," county Assistant Prosecutor Michael Bohner said. "There was some indication early on that Dounche was going to rob Mr. Babcock, but it's an unanswered question because nothing was stolen. All we know was that he pulled out a 40-caliber and shot him in the face."

Mr. Babcock, 43, died after a single bullet went through his left thumb and face and severed an artery in his neck. He was about 2.8 miles into his commute from East Toledo to Fresh Products Inc. on South Avenue, where he had been a longtime employee.

It was the first day of a new plan to ride a bicycle to work to save money on gas. Mr. Babcock was about five miles from his destination when he encountered the gunman.

During closing arguments, defense attorney Paul Geller cautioned jurors to remove their emotions from the case and consider the facts.

He cited possible motivations for some of the witnesses who testified they heard Jones boasting about the murder - including those with criminal cases pending and who he said believed they potentially could strike a deal - and questioned the accuracy of some of the scientific testing.

Mr. Geller also asked jurors to use "logic and reason" and questioned why a man who had just committed a murder would stay in the area and be found by police only a few blocks away or talk about it where others could hear.

"You must put aside the horrible crime and look at the evidence," he said.

After the verdict, Mr. Geller said "there were no winners" in the case, calling it "a tragedy for the Babcock family and Dounche, [who] said he didn't do it."

During closing arguments, county Assistant Prosecutor Michael Loisel recited for jurors the evidence that he said implicated Jones. He pointed to a shoe print at the scene that matched the shoes Jones was wearing when arrested.

He said Jones' DNA was on a bullet found at another felonious assault crime scene that occurred near an Airport Highway bar about a week before.

Subsequent testing, he added, showed the same gun fired the rounds found at Airport Highway with one found at the murder scene.

Mr. Loisel also asked jurors to consider the testimony of three unrelated witnesses who each said they heard Jones admitting at different times and to different people shooting a man in the face.

"The only individual that all this evidence is pointing to is sitting right there," Mr. Loisel said, pointing to Jones.

Jones' mother, Helen, began to cry after the verdict was announced. She watched as her shackled son was led away by court deputies. He shook his head often and flashed her a look of disgust.

"I know my son didn't do this," she said tearfully, adding that she knew he was with his girlfriend at the time of the killing. "They already took away my daughter," she added, referring to a daughter who died because of medical problems. "And now they just took away my son."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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