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Judge orders trial in 2013 shooting death

ELYRIA — Antonio Robles will stand trial on murder and felonious assault charges in the May 2013 shooting death of DeAndre McDowell, a judge ruled Thursday.

Visiting Judge Dale Crawford rejected a request from Robles’ lawyer to throw out the murder and felonious assault charges that Robles was indicted on earlier this year. Robles originally was charged with reckless homicide for allegedly killing McDowell, but police and prosecutors have said the additional charges became necessary after they gathered additional evidence.

Defense attorney Michael Stepanik argued during Thursday’s hearing that Lorain police had the information early on in their investigation, and the more serious charges should be thrown out because of the delay.

The 17-year-old McDowell’s body was found in a wooded lot on Lexington Avenue by a man and woman who had been driving by and watching a group of wild turkeys May 17, 2013.

Lorain police Sgt. Buddy Sivert testified that McDowell was killed the day before and his body moved from the Lorain house where he died.

Sivert said another man charged in the case, Adam Ortiz Jr., initially told police that McDowell and Robles were wrestling playfully when the gun — believed to be a .22-caliber revolver — in Robles’ hand went off. McDowell died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The gun was never recovered.

Other witnesses interviewed by police had similar stories, Sivert told Crawford.

“Most of the people there said they were wrestling and the gun went off,” he said.

Robles, 21, surrendered to police in North Carolina about a week after the shooting.

After McDowell died, Ortiz and a woman who hasn’t been charged moved the body, Sivert said. The original agreement police made with Ortiz was that he wouldn’t be charged as long as he told the truth and cooperated.

But Sivert said just before Ortiz was due to take a lie detector test, he changed his story and the results of the polygraph examination indicated he was being deceptive.

Ortiz was indicted in March on charges of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, possession of criminal tools and abuse of a corpse.

Sivert said after further investigation, police determined that things had been far more dangerous inside the house where McDowell was killed. He testified that there were several guns in the house and drugs were being sold. He also said that Robles suspected that McDowell might be recording him.

That prompted Robles to point a gun at McDowell and order him to lift his shirt and drop his pants so he could be checked for a wire, Sivert said. At some point during that exchange, Robles allegedly shot McDowell.

Crawford also upped Robles’ bond to $50,000 and ordered him taken into custody Thursday until the bond can be posted.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


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