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State News

Local news roundup: Sept. 3, 2009


Avon man sues neighbor for slander

ELYRIA — An Avon man is suing his neighbor for slander and libel for allegedly spreading false rumors around his neighborhood that he committed “certain lewd acts” involving children, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

Leonard Clifton lives across the road from Rachel Allan on Wendell Street and the pair had been friends before a falling out, said Clifton’s attorney, Anthony Pecora.

“She’s slandering our client,” he said. “He has a good reputation. He’s a good man.”

Pecora said Clifton has been cleared by Lorain County Children Services, which investigated the case, and has never been charged by police or prosecutors.

Despite that, he said, Allan continued to make false allegations about Clifton and has gone so far as to distribute literature around the neighborhood detailing the sexual accusations she’s leveled against her neighbor.

Pecora said Clifton has tried to get Allan to stop, but has been rebuffed.

The lawsuit asks for $2 million in damages.

Lorain man on trial for home robbery

ELYRIA — The trial of a Lorain man accused of robbing a Sheffield Township woman while free on bond for murder is under way.

Avery Taylor, 19, is charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and felonious assault in connection with the May 10 robbery in which the victim told police masked men forced their into her home.

The victim reported that the robbers, who claimed to be police officers, held her at gunpoint and ransacked her home for money and drugs.

Both Taylor and Andrew Lorenzana were identified by the women as the robbers, but Lorenzana was cleared because a GPS monitoring device he was wearing showed he wasn’t at the woman’s house during the robbery.

Taylor’s GPS device, which both men were required to wear as a condition of their bond on the murder charges they face in the Feb. 3 shooting death of Christopher Lundberg in Lorain, put him at the scene, according to prosecutors.

The trial resumes today.

Accused killer again requests trial move

ELYRIA — Accused killer Neil Simpson renewed his request to move his capital murder trial out of Lorain County in a motion filed Wednesday with county Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski.

In his latest motion — which, like others he has filed, was done without the aid of his attorneys — Simpson contends that he cannot get a fair trial because of media coverage of the shooting death of Granny D’s Pizza owner David Kowalczyk during a June 2007 robbery.

Simpson is also facing charges in other robberies he was allegedly involved in with two other men. One of those men, Scotty Parker, took a 20-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against Simpson. The other man, Richar Perry, is still awaiting trial but won’t face the death penalty if convicted.

In the latest motion, Simpson continued to insist he is innocent of the robberies and killing Kowalczyk.

“Defendant is going crazy thinking about dieing (sic) and the defendant’s family is going crazy thinking the defendant is going to be murder (sic) for something the defendant didn’t do,” Simpson wrote in the motion filed Wednesday.

Crushers holding breast cancer event

AVON — The Lake Erie Crushers will kick off their final regular season series on Friday with “Pack the Park for a Cure” night to help in the fight against breast cancer.

Gates open at 6 p.m. with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

The Crushers will donate $2 from every ticket sold at All Pro Freight Stadium on Friday night to the Moll Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic’s Fairview Hospital in its continuing fight to find a cure for breast cancer.

The Lake Erie Crushers’ players will wear special pink jerseys to mark the occasion as they take on the Midwest Sliders. Fans can bid on players’ game-worn jerseys throughout the game at a special concourse table followed by a special live postgame auction with all proceeds to benefit Moll Pavilion.

Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game and be part of a special “pink human ribbon” that will decorate the field at All Pro Freight Stadium prior to the game. Pink ribbons provided by Zeta Tau Alpha also will be handed out at the gate, as part of their “Think Pink” campaign.

Following the game, fans will be able to enjoy the final “Fireworks Friday” show of the season, courtesy of WEOL AM-930 radio.

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