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Published: Friday, 5/7/2010

Man convicted in shooting of pizza deliverer

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Aaron McDonald, 21, faces up to 23 years in prison when he is sentenced June 22 in the East Toledo robbery and shooting. Aaron McDonald, 21, faces up to 23 years in prison when he is sentenced June 22 in the East Toledo robbery and shooting.
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Believing she simply was delivering a pizza to hungry customers, Rebecca Keasler struggled when attacked by two men answering the door at a vacant East Toledo house.

But after she was subdued, she was shot twice, Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor Michael Narges said yesterday.

One of two men accused in the February shooting of the 21-year-old pizza delivery woman after luring her to the abandoned home to rob her entered a plea to several charges in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday.

Aaron McDonald, 21, of 510 Euclid Ave. pleaded no contest to one count each of attempted murder, aggravated robbery, and felonious assault, each with gun specifications. Because some of the sentences would merge, McDonald faces up to 23 years in prison when sentenced June 22 by Judge James Bates.

"The victim had already been subdued when one or the other of the defendants shot her twice at point-blank range," Mr. Narges said. "It can reasonably be presumed that the only reason to shoot was for death."

Mr. Narges said McDonald and a co-conspirator placed an order Feb. 11 to the Marco's Pizza at 149 Main St., where Ms. Keasler of Oregon worked. They asked that the pizza be delivered to 416 Potter St., a vacant house.

When she knocked on the door about 9:20 p.m., the suspects grabbed her and dragged her inside, Mr. Narges said. She was shot twice, once in the abdomen, once in the back.

Mr. Narges said police found a 44-caliber rifle that had been "crudely sawed off to facilitate concealment." McDonald's DNA was detected on the gun and on the money bag, which was found in his overalls, Mr. Narges said.

A neighbor heard the shots and called 911. McDonald and another man were arrested the following day.

Co-defendant Henry Johnson, Jr., 28, of 127 West Park St. is charged with one count each of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and attempt to commit murder as well as two counts of felonious assault, all with gun specifications. His trial is scheduled for May 25 before Judge Bates.

As part of a plea agreement, one count each of felonious assault and kidnapping will be dismissed at McDonald's sentencing.

Authorities said Ms. Keasler continues to recover from her injuries, which include serious nerve damage. She was not present in court yesterday. Her family members declined to comment.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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