By Joe Gorman
The cousin of a man accused of shooting an elderly couple in a case of mistaken identity in 2010 testified Monday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that he was asked by the defendant to clean the vehicle prosecutors say was used in the shooting.
Nathan McKenzie testified before Judge Maureen Sweeney that Aubrey Toney asked him to clean a Dodge Durango belonging to another cousin that police say was used in the Sept. 25, 2010, shooting death of 74-year-old Thomas Repchic and the wounding of his then 74-year-old wife, Jacqueline.
McKenzie testified that Toney asked him the day after the shooting to clean the Durango, which was owned by their cousin Lakeshia Toney, but McKenzie said he wanted to steer clear of it.
“I didn’t want to touch it,” McKenzie testified.
Toney, 33, could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder of Thomas Repchic. Prosecutors said Toney was looking for a man he was feuding with who was known to drive a car similar to the one the Repchics had, and when he saw the car at East Philadelphia Avenue and Southern Boulevard, he fired several rounds at it.
A jury was seated last week, and the first day of testimony was Wednesday.
Lakeshia Toney testified last week that Toney asked to borrow her Durango the day of the shooting and returned it a short time later.
McKenzie testified Monday that he went with Lakeshia Toney to get a ladder from a relative and they ran into Aubrey Toney’s father there, and the father wanted to relay word that he knew the whereabouts of the person with whom Toney was feuding. McKenzie said that person was at a neighboring house and was working on a car, but McKenzie said he wanted to talk to Toney in person first before telling him anything about that because he was not sure of the specifics of the feud.
He said he never met with Aubrey Toney but learned later there was a shooting. He talked with him on the phone and Toney said, “‘I think I got him,’” or “‘I think we got him,’” McKenzie testified.
Later, McKenzie saw news of the shooting on television, and after they described the vehicle police were looking for, he told Lakeshia Toney he was afraid their cousin may have been involved, he said.
“I told her I had a bad feeling about things,” McKenzie testified.
McKenzie talked in a low and sometimes inaudible voice and paused several times for long stretches after he was asked a question.
The day after the shooting, he saw Aubrey Toney at Lakeshia Toney’s house, and that was when Aubrey Toney asked him to clean the Durango, McKenzie testified.
In 2012, Kevin Agee, 28, was convicted for his role in the crime as the driver and was sentenced to 41 years to life in prison. He testified that Aubrey Toney was in the vehicle with him that day. Toney claimed on the first day of the trial when he made his opening statement that he was nowhere near the crime scene the day of the shooting.