Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Motion to suppress evidence denied in case of I-75 sandbag death


Demetrius Wimberly, 14, center, is comforted as he is arraigned on the charge of murder Dec. 27, 2017, at Lucas County Juvenile Court in Toledo. Wimberly is one of four boys charged in the death of Marquise Byrd, 22.

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A Lucas County Juvenile Court judge has denied a motion to suppress evidence filed on behalf of Demetrius Wimberly, 14, the only youth who has not entered a plea in connection with the death of a motorist killed when a sandbag dropped from an overpass smashed into a vehicle on I-75.

Rashya Cunningham, the Wimberly youth’s attorney, argued that the four youths charged in Marquise Byrd’s Dec. 19 death were not legally stopped by police, but Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon denied the motion Monday.

Mr. Byrd, 22, of Warren, Mich., was riding in the car struck by the sandbag dropped from the Indiana Avenue overpass and was hit when it smashed through the windshield. Three teens, Pedro Salinas, 13, Sean Carter, 14, and William Parker, 15, all entered guilty pleas to their involvement in his death. 

The parties will be back in court on Feb. 22 for the final pre-trial conference. Lori Olender, deputy chief of the juvenile division, said that is also the last day the state’s plea offer remains open. The Wimberly youth can currently plead guilty to two counts of vehicular vandalism and one count of involuntary manslaughter, the same charges to which Carter and Parker youths pleaded guilty in January.

“If we proceed after Feb. 22, the state could ... dismiss that case and go forward on the murder and the felonious assault that it had started with in the beginning,” Ms. Olender said. “We want him to know that because obviously that’s a risk we want him to understand.”

If a plea deal is not struck, trial is set for March. 9.  

If found delinquent for committing murder by the juvenile court, a youth may be sentenced to juvenile detention until he is 21 years old. For involuntary manslaughter, youths may be sentenced to a one to two-year minimum sentence, with a maximum sentence of detention until the youth turns 21 years old.

Contact Zack Lemon at zlemon@theblade.com419-724-6282, or on Twitter @zack_lemon.

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