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Published: Thursday, 7/9/2009

Assault on activist is classified as homicide

BY FLORENCE DETHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An Old West End resident who was assaulted, knocked to the ground, and robbed of his bicycle died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head stemming from the June 22 attack, a Lucas County deputy coroner reported yesterday.

Dr. Maneesha Pandey, who performed the autopsy on Robert Brundage, 66, also said that no underlying conditions or prior injuries contributed to Mr. Brundage's death.

The attack is being investigated as a homicide, and the Lucas County prosecutor's office said it planned to pursue murder charges against the 15-year-old boy suspected of attacking Mr. Brundage.

Toxicology tests are not being performed on Mr. Brundage because he was in the hospital and medicated when he died Tuesday at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

His death marks the 14th murder in Toledo this year. Authorities have suspects in custody in all but two of the homicides.

At this time last year, there were nine murders in Toledo.

Mr. Brundage, a longtime community activist, had been in the hospital since June 22, when authorities said he was attacked by Dailahntae Jemison, 15.

The youth is accused of punching Mr. Brundage in the head and knocking him to the ground on Collingwood Boulevard near Victoria Place before stealing his bicycle.

The teenager was arrested an hour after the

6:30 p.m. assault and has been charged with delinquency in connection with aggravated robbery.

Lori Olender, supervisor of the juvenile division of the Lucas County prosecutor's office, said yesterday that prosecutors have decided to pursue aggravated murder and murder charges against Dailahntae, in addition to the aggravated robbery charge. Ms. Olender also said they will seek to have the teenager certified to stand trial as an adult.

If Juvenile Court Judge Connie Zemmelman certifies the youth as an adult, he could face up to life in prison if convicted. If he stands trial as a juvenile and is found guilty, he could go to juvenile jail until age 21.

"Somebody died. We need to at least pursue the certification when there's a death," Ms. Olender said.

Dailahntae is being held downtown at the Juvenile Justice Center.

Mr. Brundage had just left a meeting of Jobs with Justice at the Kent Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library when he was attacked.

"His loss not only affects our immediate family, but Bob's extended family, including his friends, neighbors, and the Toledo community as a whole," the Brundage family said in a statement Tuesday.

Mr. Brundage was well-known in the local community. A graduate of Scott High School and the University of Toledo, he received a doctorate in biophysics in 1969 from Brandeis University near Boston.

Since returning to his boyhood home in Toledo in 1997 to care for his father, he had been actively involved with more than 20 community organizations on issues ranging from social justice to education to the environment.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said Tuesday that a park or similar area would be dedicated in Mr. Brundage's honor. Funeral arrangements for Mr. Brundage were incomplete last night.

Staff writer Erica Blake contributed to this report.

Contact Florence Dethy at:

fdethy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6064.



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