Detective testifies in murder case over stolen electricity


The lead detective in the case where a man was murdered over stolen electricity testified Friday that the main suspect changed his story three times before he was finally arrested.

Detective Sgt. Rick Spotleson of the Youngstown Police Department also said in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that the defendant, Michael Paige, 26, tried to pin the blame on a former co-defendant.

Paige is charged with killing Munir Blake, 31, on March 1, 2012, inside a Lora Avenue apartment building on the North Side. Police said Blake was arguing with another tenant, Jasmine Fletcher, after Blake caught her tapping into his power line and that Paige, who is Fletcher’s cousin, killed Blake then ran away.

Paige was tried for Blake’s death in 2014 and was found not guilty of aggravated murder but jurors deadlocked on lesser charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Prosecutors opted to retry him and he has been in the county jail ever since.

A jury was selected Wednesday and began hearing testimony Thursday. Judge Maureen Sweeney is hearing the case.

Read more about the case in Saturday's Vindicator or on

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