cty SAMANTHA STEWART Police photo *** NOT BLADE PHOTO Samantha Stewart
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Samantha Stewart didn't shoot the gun that ended Kevin Dunklin's life, but she lured him to a West Toledo alley and knew that her boyfriend had a gun he intended to use, an assistant county prosecutor said.
Stewart, 19, of 2326 Genesee St., entered an Alford plea in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to one count each of murder with a gun specification and aggravated robbery.
In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit a crime, but pleads guilty for his or her best interest. The court treats it as a guilty plea. Assistant County Prosecutor Frank Spryszak said Dunklin was shot Feb. 24 by Stewart's boyfriend and co-defendant, Chad Irbey. Irbey, 22, of 587 Woodville Rd. No. 3 entered a similar plea March 2. Both defendants face life in prison when sentenced April 15 by Judge Frederick McDonald.
They are scheduled to be married today in the Lucas County jail, authorities said.
Mr. Spryszak said yesterday Stewart and Irbey had devised a plan to rob the victim because they "were short on cash and needed to make a quick buck." He said Dunklin was an ex-boyfriend of Stewart and she suggested robbing him because she knew it was likely he had money on him.
"Ms. Stewart contacted Mr. Dunklin by phone and lured him to an alley," Mr. Spryszak said, adding that she told the victim she was interested in buying drugs. When he arrived in an alley near Burnham and Vermaas avenues, Stewart approached from the passenger side and Irbey went to the driver's side window with a five-shot, 38-caliber revolver, Mr. Spryszak said. "[Irbey] fired all five rounds into the vehicle, two of which were fatal shots to the head," said Mr. Spryszak.
He said the two pulled Dunklin from his car, robbed him of $38 in cash, and drove off in his vehicle. They failed to break into his hotel room. The vehicle was dumped in Hecklinger Pond in East Toledo.
In an interview with police after her arrest, Stewart admitted that she believed Irbey was "going to shoot Mr. Dunklin before the robbery took place," Mr. Spryszak said.
Stewart and Irbey were initially charged with aggravated murder, murder, and aggravated robbery, all with gun specifications. As part of the negotiated deal, the aggravated murder charge as well as the gun specification for the robbery charge will be dismissed.