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Published: Wednesday, 7/15/2009

15-year-old arraigned in murder of activist

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dailahntae Jemison, 15, appears in Lucas County Juvenile Court with his lawyer, Joanne Rubin, left, and his foster mother, Twanda Harris. He is charged with murder in Robert Brundage's death. Dailahntae Jemison, 15, appears in Lucas County Juvenile Court with his lawyer, Joanne Rubin, left, and his foster mother, Twanda Harris. He is charged with murder in Robert Brundage's death.
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Sandwiched between his lawyer and his foster mother, a silent Dailahntae Jemison returned to Lucas County Juvenile Court yesterday to face charges that he murdered a well-known community activist.

Attorney Joanne Rubin entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of the teenager, who is charged with delinquency in connection with aggravated murder and with murder for the death of Robert Brundage.

Mr. Brundage died July 7 in the hospital about two weeks after he was assaulted, knocked to the ground, and robbed of his bike.

The Lucas County Coroner's Office determined that Mr. Brundage, 66, died of blunt-force trauma and ruled the death a homicide.

A motion to certify the 15-year-old boy as an adult was filed by the prosecutor's office July 9 and a Tuesday hearing was set to determine whether enough evidence exists to pursue the charges.

Judge Connie Zemmelman yesterday reviewed the process that will take place, including two hearings in juvenile court to determine whether young Jemison will be transferred to adult court.

If he is transferred to adult court and convicted on murder charges, he faces life in prison.

If convicted in juvenile court, he can either be incarcerated until the age of 21 or, if found to be a serious youthful offender, can be incarcerated in the juvenile system with an adult sentence hanging over his head, the judge said.

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

The teenager was arrested an hour after the 6:30 p.m. assault and charged with delinquency in connection with aggravated robbery. The additional murder charges were filed after Mr. Brundage died.

Well-known in the community, Mr. Brundage was 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, Mr. Brundage had been actively involved with more than 20 community organizations on issues ranging from social justice to education to the environment.



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