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Published: Tuesday, 3/31/2009

Man pleads guilty to murder of man at East Toledo church festival

BLADE STAFF

For nearly eight months, the July 18 shooting death of a man at the St. Thomas Aquinas Festival in East Toledo had remained unsolved.

In Lucas County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, the main suspect in the shooting admitted guilt and apologized for the death.

Eusebio Martinez, 20, of 414 Courtland Ave., pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter with a gun specification for the death of Kenneth Kimble, 18. The plea comes on the same day that he entered an Alford plea to two counts of felonious assault with gun specifications for the July 5 shooting of two men outside a central city bar.

Judge Charles Doneghy set an April 30 sentencing date. Although he faces up to 32 years in prison for both cases, as part of the plea agreement, the recommended sentence is 15 years.

In his statement to the court, Martinez said that he had not intended to harm anyone on the day that he attended the festival but that he had been "jumped" by several people. He said that he shot the gun to scare off his attackers and ran away.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun added that Martinez was one of about 15 young men who were walking through the crowds starting fights. He added that the victim was with a group of about eight others and that the two groups began fighting.

Kimble was not fighting with Martinez at the time he was shot at very close range, Mr. Braun said.

"The victim was outnumbered and the defendant had a gun," Mr. Braun said after the sentencing. He said that the Kimble family agreed with the plea agreement and recommended sentence.

The charges that originally brought Martinez into court were two counts of felonious assault for the early morning shooting of Mario Madrid, 43, and Frederick Sheares, 65, outside the Ninja Club, 1102 Broadway.

In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime, but still pleads guilty because he decides itÂ’s in his best interest. The court treats it the same as a guilty plea.

Mr. Braun said the two men were standing outside the club when Martinez, with a bandana over his face, came around a corner and shot at them. Mr. Madrid was hit once and Mr. Sheares was struck five times by bullets.

The shooting was in response to the two men kicking Martinez out of the bar several weeks earlier because he was fighting, Mr. Braun said.



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