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Published: 12/5/2013

Houston police arrest Toledoan in 2012 death

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Lunch did not go as Dei-trekk Boone planned Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Toledo man, who carried identification calling him “James Smith,” was sitting down to eat at a Golden Corral on Houston’s south side about 3 p.m. when police officers arrested him for aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, Deputy U.S. Marshal Rodney Hartzell said.

“It’s going to be his last buffet for quite some time,” Deputy Hartzell said.

Mr. Boone is one of five people accused in the Nov. 19, 2012, shooting death of Joseph Lengel, 57, owner of CrossFit Intensity Gym in South Toledo.

The other four suspects have been tried and convicted and are serving prison sentences for their roles in the mistaken-identity death.

Officials had thought Mr. Boone was hiding in Cleveland, Columbus, or Atlanta.

“He went there [to Houston] to hide from us,” Deputy Hartzell said. “He figured we’d never find him there. We can’t trace any family to him there. ... He just showed up in Houston and started making a life for himself under a new ID.”

Recently, although exactly when is unclear, Houston officers stopped Mr. Boone outside the downtown library where they thought he was selling drugs, Deputy Hartzell said. During the stop, officers used a portable fingerprint device on Mr. Boone. Before any results were available, Mr. Boone fought with officers and fled, Deputy Hartzell said.

Once officers learned that their guy was wanted for murder in Toledo, the search was on. It’s not clear what tipped officers to the restaurant, but Mr. Boone did not resist arrest.

A Houston police spokesman said Mr. Boone was arrested with a small amount of cocaine and Ecstasy. As a result, he faces two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Mr. Boone is being held in a Houston-area jail pen-ding an extradition hearing.

“In 28 years, this has been the hardest warrant I’ve ever worked in my career,” Deputy Hartzell said. “This is the longest I’ve ever looked for anybody.”

It will be up to the prosecutor’s office to charge any family or friends believed to have aided Mr. Boone with his on-the-lam lifestyle.

Another wanted man in the area was arrested in the Texas city on Wednesday.

Lawrence Johnson was picked up by U.S. Marshals in Houston after he escaped from a halfway house on Toledo’s Madison Avenue on Nov. 21, Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hodge said.

Johnson was convicted in a federal court in Corpus Christi for illegal transportation of unlawful aliens, Deputy Hodge said. After serving his sentence, he was sent to the Toledo halfway house. On Nov. 21, he got into an altercation with staff there, grabbed his belongings, and ran, Deputy Hodge said.

Johnson has family in the Houston area, leading authorities to look for him there. He didn’t resist when marshals arrested him Wednesday; he’s expected to be extradited to Toledo.

In July, Kenya McGhee, 38, wanted for two counts each of murder, aggravated arson, and one count of aggravated murder, was arrested in Houston by federal marshals.

She is being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $2 million bond. She is accused of setting a Springfield Township condominium complex ablaze March 25, 2012, killing two people, including her father.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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