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YOUNGSTOWN Deal is struck for suspect's car



Published: Fri, May 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The car will be sold to pay for LaTawon Townsend's defense in a murder case.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Lawyers in LaTawon Townsend's murder case reached a deal Thursday that gives both sides what they want.

Prosecutors got the evidence they need, and Townsend's attorney got the title to the car. He can now sell it and apply the proceeds toward his fee, which was part of his agreement with Townsend.

Townsend, 20, of South Garland Avenue, is charged with aggravated murder in the January shooting death of Angela Loibl, 24, at the T-N-T Bar. The case is set for trial July 1 before Judge James C. Evans.

Key evidence

Police had seized Townsend's 1991 Acura sedan Jan. 15 and held it at an impound yard since then. Defense attorney Dennis DiMartino had asked for its release so he can sell it.

DiMartino and Townsend signed a court entry Thursday agreeing that Townsend was the owner of the car Jan. 12, the day of the shooting, and that he had driven it to the bar that night with Jose Rivera, who is also charged with aggravated murder.

They also agreed that Townsend drove it away from the bar after being kicked out for fighting.

Macejko said prosecutors needed that information to prove Townsend and Rivera were at the bar together that night. With the agreement in hand, prosecutors agreed to release the car and will substitute photographs at trial.

Police say the two returned to the bar in another car and went inside with guns. Loibl was shot as she hid in the kitchen area.

The car has twin television sets mounted in the front-seat headrests, among other features. Part of DiMartino's agreement with Townsend was that the vehicle would be sold and applied toward his fee.

DiMartino was unhappy that Townsend was made to pay half the $800 fee for storing the vehicle since it was seized, but agreed to it so the car would be released. The city will pay the other half of the cost.

bjackson@vindy.com




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