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Attacker admits guilt in death of woman, 83

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Abdo

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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Cecelia Sobecki had put up a fight.

When a woman broke into her home Feb. 6 and took her purse, the 83-year-old Toledo woman struggled to stop her. But the intruder, who said yesterday her intention was to steal from the elderly woman, admitted she caused Ms. Sobecki's death when she pushed her down.

Mandi Abdo, 25, tearfully pleaded guilty in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to one count each of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated burglary, and robbery. She faces up to 28 years in prison when she is sentenced Sept. 22.

Abdo, of 1248 Yates St., admitted that she went into Ms. Sobecki's Austin Street home planning to steal money. She told Judge Linda Jennings she grabbed the woman's purse and struggled with Ms. Sobecki.

"As we were fighting back and forth over the purse, I pushed her down," she said. She said she lifted the injured woman and propped her in a chair before leaving.

Ms. Sobecki was hospitalized for a broken hip and broken wrist and died Feb. 8 as a result of complications of her injuries, Assistant County Prosecutor Andy Lastra said. Ms. Sobecki was found in her home by her daughter, who called for emergency help. On the way to the hospital, she described her attacker, he said.

Abdo stole about $700 in the robbery, he added.

After hearing from both Mr. Lastra and Abdo what occurred, Judge Jennings questioned Abdo on whether she understood that an elderly woman died as a result of her actions.

"Yes," she responded.

Initially charged with murder, Abdo pleaded to involuntary manslaughter, which is causing the death of another in the commission of a felony. Also as part of the plea agreement, an aggravated robbery charge was lowered to robbery.

Attorney Mark Berling said that the negotiated plea was a result of the belief that it was not Abdo's intention "to commit a homicide." He said Abdo wanted to plead guilty to the charge because she wanted to accept responsibility for her actions.

A relative of Ms. Sobecki in the courtroom yesterday declined to comment on the plea.

Ms. Sobecki's death was among a series of attacks on elderly residents that resulted in several injuries and one other death.

Edgar Howard, 47, of 222 Austin St. is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault, and attempted murder for the May 1 beating death of Frances Fox, 88, and for the severe assault on her husband, Kenneth, 74, in their Mulberry Street home. A trial date has not been set. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.

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