Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Toledo man pleads no contest in burglary




Michael Brown, Jr., had been a part of a plan to break into a Galena Street home. That plan was thwarted when the homeowner returned and found three intruders inside.

Brown was shot once in the back and eventually arrested. An accomplice, Christopher Childress, also was shot. He died of his injuries.

Yesterday, Brown, 19, of 2105 North Michigan St. pleaded no contest in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to burglarizing the North Toledo home as well as to an involuntary manslaughter charge for initiating the activity that led to Mr. Childress' death. As part of the plea agreement, the involuntary manslaughter charge was reduced from a first-degree felony to a third-degree felony.

Brown faces up to 13 years in prison when sentenced June 14 by Judge Denise Ann Dartt.

Assistant County Prosecutor Louis Kountouris said yesterday that Cedric Joplin returned to his home at 811 Galena St. about 8:30 p.m. Feb. 20 to find three men inside.

"He was returning home from a funeral at the time," Mr. Kountouris said. "He came home and interrupted a burglary."

After determining men were inside his home, Mr. Joplin called 911, Mr. Kountouris said. He was still on the line with emergency dispatchers when he fired several shots, striking at least two of the three men.

Police identified two of the men as Mr. Childress, 21, and Brown. A third man, Jason L. Peace, 33, of 2038 Michigan St., who is Mr. Childress' uncle, was arrested later.

Mr. Peace also faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and burglary. If convicted, he faces up to 18 years in prison.

Mr. Childress of 2038 North Michigan St. was shot but ran to the corner of Galena and Michigan before collapsing. He was pronounced dead at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

The single bullet that killed him entered through his back and pierced his lung, according to the Lucas County Coroner's Office.

Brown was also shot, Mr. Kountouris said. He was admitted to Toledo Hospital but left without being discharged. Police arrested him days later.

Mr. Joplin, a guard at the Toledo Correctional Institute since 2000, was not charged in the shootings. But Mr. Childress' accomplices were because, according to Ohio law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be filed if a death occurred as a proximate result of criminal conduct.

The mothers of Brown and Mr. Childress sat together during the court appearance yesterday. Both women declined to comment.

Mr. Peace - who in an unrelated case also faces charges of breaking and entering, vandalism, and possessing criminal tools - has a trial date scheduled for Monday before Judge Gene Zmuda.

Contact Erica Blake at:

or 419-213-2134.

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