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Published: Monday, 12/29/2008

17-year-old charged with murder in teen's slaying

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo police arrested a 17-year-old boy late Sunday night in connection with the murder of a North Toledo teenager.

Deshawn McCardell, of 3126 Franklin Ave., was charged with delinquency in connection with murder, police said.

He was arrested at the Safety Building downtown about 9 p.m. Sunday, police said.

His attorney, Jon Richardson, entered a denial on behalf of the McCardell youth during a hearing Monday morning in the Lucas County Juvenile Court.

The teenager, who was released from the Department of Youth Services in November, will remain in the custody of the Justice Center. His next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6.

Antonyo Phillips, 15, was found with a gunshot wound to his back about 2:10 a.m. Sunday at 3147 Cottage Avenue.

The Phillips youth was taken to St. Vincent Hospital, where he died a short time later.

Article appeared in earlier versions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

Toledo teen fatally shot in altercation

Fifteen-year-old Antonyo Phillips was indisputably big for his age, a 235-pound high school freshman who stood out among crowds with his 6-foot, 2-inch-tall frame.

His size gave him formidable presence on the football field, where he played defensive tackle this fall for Rogers High School following earlier successes in the youth Mid-City Football League.

Yet family members also suspect that Antonyo's physical stature may have made him a target in a fatal early morning shooting yesterday in North Toledo.

Police said the shooting took place at about 2 a.m. in the street in front of 3153 Cottage Ave. after an exchange of words between two groups who encountered each other.

The teen, who was unarmed, was shot in the back and pronounced dead shortly before 2:30 a.m. at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Toledo police are investigating the circumstances and motive of the shooting, and had yet to name suspects last night.

Phillips Phillips
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An autopsy is scheduled today.

Antonyo was in one group with several cousins, and walking to pick up a DVD movie from the house of another cousin, according to his mother, Gwendolin Phillips.

He also happened to be the tallest and biggest in the group - which police believe numbered five or six people - even though he was the youngest, said Da'Quon Dyer, 22, a cousin.

"I think that's one of the reasons they targeted him - he's a big kid," Mr. Dyer said.

Toledo Police Detective Jay Gast said it was unclear what prompted the altercation or whether the groups knew each other.

He said that no witnesses yesterday could positively identify or name those in the opposing group of as many as eight people from which the shots were fired.

"No fists were thrown," Detective Gast said. "It sounds like it started as words from a distance and then all of a sudden, bullets were flying."

Police said they do not believe Antonyo was in a gang.

By yesterday afternoon, more than a dozen family members and friends had gathered in the Phillips home on Latonia Boulevard in West Toledo, where Antonio lived with his parents and three siblings. His father is Arthur Phillips.

Family huddled on the living room sofas, sharing memories, photo albums, and tissues to dab tears.

"My son had everything in the world to live for - everything," his mother said.

"He could make everybody just smile and laugh. We used to call him Smiley."

He also loved to play to football, and dreamed of one day playing for Michigan State University.

Antonyo recently transferred from Rogers to Start High School, she said.

"He was just a really good kid, and always had a smile on his face," said Rick Rios, Rogers football coach. "We had really high hopes for him in his future."

He was close to many of his cousins, including Brittaney Dyer, 15, who last saw him Christmas Day and had exchanged text messages via cell phone hours before he was shot.

"I just texted him and he told me he loved me, and I said, 'I love you too,'•" she recalled.

Mrs. Phillips' grief was mixed with anger toward those responsible for slaying her son. She blamed the killing on gang members.

"If you was man enough to pull that trigger, you should be man enough to step up to the plate and turn yourself in," she said.

Police are asking that anyone with information about the shooting call Crime Stopper at 419-255-1111.



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