Defendants in March murder want cases separated; confession suppressed

YOUNGSTOWN — A city man accused of murder wants his confession to police thrown out because he said he was too high on drugs to understand what he was doing.

Michael Paige, 20, and his cousin, Jasmin Fletcher, 21, both charged in the March 1 shooting death of 31-year-old Munir Blake, appeared today before Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Paige and Fletcher are both asking to have their cases tried separately, and Paige is asking the court to suppress statements he made to police.

Paige is charged with aggravated murder. Fletcher is charged with tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

Police said Blake called police Feb. 29 to complain about Jasmin Fletcher stealing his electricity. Police came out to the Lora Avenue duplex and disconnected the illegal line the same day.

Fletcher, police said, then purchased another cord and was attempting to begin stealing Blake’s electricity again March 1. When Blake confronted her, he was shot dead.

Originally, Fletcher was accused of the shooting, but Paige surrendered to police, who said he admitted firing the fatal shots. That confession to police took center stage in court today.

For the complete story, read Wednesday’s Vindicator and

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