April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Pair declines to testify in fatal drive-by shooting case

Raymond Fowler appears in Judge James Miraldi's court on Friday.  He did not want to testify in the Bohannon Miller trial for aggravated murder.  STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Raymond Fowler appears in Judge James Miraldi’s court on Friday. He did not want to testify in the Bohannon Miller trial for aggravated murder. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Two witnesses refused to take the stand Friday and testify against Bohannon Miller during his aggravated murder trial.

Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Sherry Glass has argued that both Raymond Fowler and Larry Blake were being intimidated by Miller, who is accused of killing Marquis McCall during a June 22, 2009, drive-by shooting in Lorain, or by those associated with him.

Concerns about the safety of the witnesses prompted county Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi to close his courtroom to all but the media Friday during a hearing on whether potential witness Raymond Fowler had been threatened by Miller or his associates.

Fowler, who is jailed on unrelated charges, hasn’t been charged in connection with the McCall shooting, although he has told police he was in the car with Miller when he allegedly opened fire at McCall and others.

Prosecutors wanted to allow Lorain police Detective Buddy Sivert to testify about what Fowler and Blake had told him if the two men refused to take the witness stand. Defense attorney Denise Wilms argued that allowing Sivert to testify about what Fowler and Blake told him would deny Miller his constitutional right to confront his accusers.

Bohannon Miller appears in court Friday in his aggravated murder trial.

Bohannon Miller appears in court Friday in his aggravated murder trial.

Glass said if Miller was responsible for the threats that caused witnesses to refuse to testify then he had forfeited the right to face those witnesses in court.

Fowler told Miraldi that he had been attacked in prison several times. He also said he had been threatened by Miller, as well as by members of the McCall family.

“I fear for my life all the way around the board,” Fowler said.

He said he didn’t want to testify because of his concerns about his safety, although he also wanted to know whether he would be charged with murder if he refused to testify.

“I feel threatened by the state of Ohio,” Fowler said.

Under the terms of an agreement with prosecutors, Fowler was supposed to testify against Miller and in exchange he wouldn’t be charged in connection with the McCall shooting. But Glass said she couldn’t answer his question about whether his refusal to testify Friday would lead to him being charged now.

Glass told Fowler that if she answered that question it would appear to be an attempt to influence him.

Fowler also said he didn’t think Miraldi or anyone else involved in the trial was concerned about his safety and suggested they would be responsible for his death.

“Y’all the killers,” he said. “… If I can’t win with the law, then what?”

Miraldi replied that the whole point of the hearing was because he was worried about Fowler’s safety.

Blake, who faces murder charges himself for allegedly driving the car used in the McCall shooting, also refused to take the stand Friday.

He said he wasn’t being intimidated by Miller but rather blamed his refusal to testify on Glass as he was led out of the courtroom

The jailed Blake made it clear from the time he entered the courtroom that he didn’t want to be there and wasn’t going to testify. He said he would refuse to speak if he was brought in before a jury and cursed at Miraldi during his brief court appearance.

At one point during the hearing, Blake said, “It’s over,” before trying to get up and walk off the witness stand. He was stopped by several deputies in the courtroom.

Sivert had testified earlier in the day that although Blake had cooperated in the past, he also had told police he was concerned for his safety.

Miraldi ultimately agreed to allow Sivert to testify about what Fowler told him, but rejected allowing the detective to do the same about his conversations with Blake.

Sivert told the jury that Fowler told him that on the night of the shooting, he was sitting in a gold Ford Taurus with Miller, Blake and Dale Atkinson when Miller received a call from his father.

Miller’s father told him that Chris Hill, Miller’s cousin, had died from injuries received in a shooting earlier in the day, Sivert said Fowler told him. That call led those in the car to drive to the intersection of West 13th Street and Long Avenue, where Miller allegedly opened fire at a group of people that included McCall and Craig Roberson. McCall and Roberson were both shot, but only Roberson survived.

Sivert said he and other detectives were in the area at the time and he had seen a gold Ford Taurus drive by. He said he heard what he initially thought were firecrackers, but then realized that it had been a shooting.

He testified that he and other officers rushed to the scene and began investigating.

About nine minutes later, Sivert said, police received a call from a woman who had seen four men park a Taurus outside her home, wipe it down and walk away. Police later found a spent shell casing in the sunroof, which matched casings found at the Long Avenue shooting scene.

They also found the fingerprints of Blake and Atkinson in the car, Sivert said.

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

  • ohio 30th!!!!

    Im getting ready for my flight, but I hope yall see threw this bs.. if fowler didnt want to get on the stand an he saying he in fear of all this an that now, dont that make yall think he lying, but then he asked is he going be charge with murder this is some real bs here.. and if this crime happen in lorain why aint this in the lorains newspaper; its only in the chronicle..

    • Michael A. Figueroa

      Nice grammar.

  • CharlesMartel732

    We are beginning to see more and more of this in the justice system, the erosion of justice. When judges hand out light, or no punishment for crimes, (the Affluenza case), when high ranking elected officials are given a pass on corruption and skirt the law while appointing activist judges and watch dogs, the collapse of society will continue.

    We are becoming a nation of men and not of laws. Liberalism and moral relativism will destroy our country unless we reverse course.

    • jz

      Nothing to do with why these things are unfolding in this case.

      • CharlesMartel732

        I disagree. At the Federal level we see the abuse of power when the IRS is used to punish people for disagreeing with a political party. On the street level we hear that ‘snitches get stitches’ and ‘stop snitchin.’ Both of these tactics are defended and glorified in today’s culture.

        From top to bottom we are seeing that street justice and political intimidation are becoming the order of the day.

        • Michael A. Figueroa

          It was found that the IRS did nothing wrong. Let go of the faux news talking points.

          • CharlesMartel732

            Isn’t the investigation still ongoing? Doesn’t it bother you that President Transparency put someone who donated big money to his campaign to be one of the investigators into the matter? Or that several people resigned? Or that the IRS agents were just given a bonus?

            I’m guessing not, not even a smidgen?

          • Zen Grouch

            Ohhhh! People resigned and bonuses were given out?!

            **Break out the pitchforks and torches!**

          • CharlesMartel732

            And skip over the part about the Obama lemming in charge of the investigation.

            Transparency in government.

          • Zen Grouch

            Cool!

            Obama gets his way and YOU Republican’ts are totally helpless in doing a thing about it!

            **no wonder the Republican’ts long for the “good old days!”**

          • Joe Smith

            Then why did they apologize for doing it if they didn’t do it?

        • Zen Grouch

          That Chris Christie guy…

          …he’s a Republican’t, right?

          **street fightin’ pig**

          • CharlesMartel732

            Yes, Christie is a republican, along with many other republicans who have sold out and are no better than the democrats.

            Interesting to see how the media treated him in this bridge caper after he snuggled up to 0 for political gain. Too bad the media can’t seem to go after democrats as hard as they went after Christie. Christie should pull a Charlie Crist and jump over to the D party where he belongs.

          • Zen Grouch

            Funny!

            Before Christie showed his true colors, his claim to fame was being to work with Democrats.

            I’ll bet you wanted to throw him overboard before the traffic jam, right?

          • CharlesMartel732

            “Working with democrats” means caving in and taking us further down the road to Detroit.

          • Zen Grouch

            So, in your mind, it’s better to shut down government tight as a drum, rather than to compromise and work with the Democrats, in this system of checks and balances?

            **now that’s just plain silly**

          • CharlesMartel732

            Checks and balances has been replaced with ‘I have a pen and I have a phone.’ Why is it we don’t hear of democrats working with republicans? It’s only the other way around.

            Compromise? The progressive democrat brand of European socialism isn’t appealing to me.

          • Zen Grouch

            Democrats never work with Republicans…

            You poor deluded thing!

            Democrats tried to work with Bush…

            Then when they believed his lies, they were also held accountable for starting a war in the wrong country.

            That’ll show ‘em for giving the President of the United States the benefit of the doubt, and showing the office some respect.

            When Clinton tried to go after Osama the Republicans yeowled “Wagging the Dog” and whipped that poor boy over lying about getting some head.

            BTW… how many times have the Democrats shut down the government? …hmmm?

          • Pablo Jones

            Government shutdowns used to happen all the time. I believed the government was shutdown about 7-9 times during the Reagan years. That was with the Democrats in control of the house and Senate.

          • Zen Grouch

            With the Democrats in control of the Senate and House during the Reagan administration, the government was shut down for ONE day.

            With the Republicans in control of the Senate and the Dems in control of the house during the Reagan administration, the government was shut down 7 times for a total of 13 days.

          • Pablo Jones

            Why should the Democrats give in when they know the Republicans will. Hell even the Republicans know the Republicans are going to cave they always do.

          • CharlesMartel732

            Yeah, they do. Disgusting isn’t it?

          • Tommy Peel

            The republicans hasn’t tried to work with Obama since he first got elected. The leader of the house even said his job was to make sure Obama dldn’t get re-elected. When Obama got re-elected, they just obstructed him in any way they could.

          • Pablo Jones

            The government does more good when they aren’t in session. The stock market has even done better on average when congress is on break vs when they are in session.

          • Zen Grouch

            You really don’t see a difference in Congress taking a break for Christmas and shutting down the Federal Government?

            **curiouser and curiouser**

          • Pablo Jones

            What happened with the government shutdown? All the employees that were furloughed got their back pay. The only areas where there were even the slightest inconveniences where the places where the department heads wanted the pain to be felt.

            What good has congress done in the last 2-4 years. That is what good bills/laws have they created that actually had a positive result?

            If nothing good comes from them then things would be better without them.

          • Zen Grouch

            I wouldn’t even begin to argue with that logic.

          • Pablo Jones

            I know, hard to imagine that they get paid all that money from tax dollars to donations and nothing good has come out of congress.

            It is like 2 guys buying a car and one chooses the maintenance contract where he takes it to the dealer every 6 months. He pays more for the services (fluid changes etc.) and every time they find something wrong that he has to pay for. Yet every time he gets the car back it doesn’t seem to run as smoothly as it did before.

            The other guy just did the regular fluid changes at the 10 minute service station paid no extra money and his car runs better than the first guy.

            The first guy would have been better off never taking his car in. Just like the US economy would be better off if congress didn’t try to “help”.

          • Tommy Peel

            The problem with congress is the house is controlled by the obstructionist tea party, and Boner and the others are to bent on making sure they block everything the President wants to do. Also the repubs. in the house are too busy fighting amonst themselves. They aren’t trying, nor do they have the best interest of the people who elected them, they would rather cow tow to lobbyist.

          • Pablo Jones

            What have they blocked? What didn’t the President get that he wanted besides immigration?

            And the reality is the house has passed bills that the Senate has never voted on, so really it is the Senate that is being obstructionist.

            What politician Democrat or Republican doesn’t follow the lobbyists? That is like say one fish is worse than another because it lives in water.

          • Tommy Peel

            The house members main intent is to create gridlock in Washington.

            REPUBLICAN JOBS PLAN
            1. repeal Obamcare
            2.filibuster all nominees
            3.take debt ceiling hostage
            4.shut down country
            5.campaign for 2014
            6.vote for tax breaks for people and corporations that don’t need them.
            7.filibuster some more
            8.quit working in February

          • Pablo Jones

            Oh so it went from blocking to just grid lock. Again I ask what have they been able to stop or change.

            1. It is still on the books. The only blocking or delaying has been from President Obama.

            2. There hasn’t been a filibuster on nominees. If there was truly a filibuster odds are they would have had a cloture vote.

            3. “Taking the debt ceiling hostage”? Please tell me what that means. Are they threatening to kill the debt ceiling and removing the limit on spending? We are at record levels of government spending. What are they blocking? Certainly not government spending and the amount of debt.

            4. “Shut down the country”? I don’t recall that happening, has anyone seen the country shut down? Did they stop letting people into the country? Were businesses forced to close? Did grandma and grandpa not get their SS checks? Was the baby’s mama’s baby not covered by medicare? What shut down of any importance.

            5. And the Democrat’s aren’t going to campaign?

            6. Funny every company that gets a tax break or subsidy in a Democrat district I always see the Democrat there. Sherrod Brown never misses a chance to visit to auto plants. Or is your definition of people and businesses that don’t need them the ones that support Republicans?

            So again and again I will ask waiting for an answer. What have the Republican’s in congress blocked? What have they been able to change? What has the President and the Democrats in congress wanted to do but hasn’t been able to. What bills did they want to pass that would truly stimulate the economy? The President has gotten everything he has wanted with very little effort compared to previous presidents.

          • Tommy Peel

            Both parties use the media for political purposes. Its nothing new. Christie got caught with his pants down. He is damaged goods as far as being a legitimate presidential candidate.

    • Paul Facinelli

      Damn right, Charles. But I think your condemnation of liberalism is far too narrow. I think liberals are responsible for all wars, disease, famine and pestilence. And let’s not forget those blue M & Ms. There had to be some flaming progressive behind that. Judging from the tone of your post, I believe you, as I, long for those days of yesteryear when society’s rules ensured that everybody but straight white males knew their places and the world was, well, as it should be.

      • Zen Grouch

        …not to mention the damned dirty liberals are responsible for the Nigras being allowed to use the White Man’s restroom, drinking fountain, lunch counter without fear of getting lynched in public!?

        Society is f***ed!

        And NOW we got a jig in the White House!

        • CharlesMartel732

          and keeping folks on Uncle Sams plantation.

          • Zen Grouch

            Not sure I catch your drift…

            You talkin’ Gobment workers, like the military, Post Office and Congress?

          • CharlesMartel732

            I’m sure you do catch my drift.

          • Zen Grouch

            No, really…

            I have no idea of what Rush… I mean you, are talking about.

            **for the love of God… please don’t keep a me hangin’!**

          • CharlesMartel732

            Not Rush. A lady named Star Parker wrote the book “Uncle Sams Plantation.”

          • Zen Grouch

            And Rush has never quoted or referred to this work?

          • CharlesMartel732

            Is that a rhetorical question? Many people have referenced and used the phrase, myself included.

            It’s a shame isn’t it? That the democrat war on poverty has led to more poverty? And now 0 has kicked it into overdrive. I just heard a democrat say that people losing work hours and jobs is beneficial, now they don’t have to work so much.

            Nice.

          • Zen Grouch

            I’m sorry, it’s just that you seem to take everything literally, except for facts, so, when you questioned my statement regarding Rush, with a “correction” where a correction wasn’t necessary, since I never claimed that the whole plantation thing was an original idea of his or yours.

            That would be silly for me to start handing out credits for original thoughts on the Republican’t side of things.

            **Lock & Load… and shut this B**** down! GEE-HAW!**

            Look, if you don’t care to explain your esoteric statements, that’s cool, but don’t expect me to buy or read some RightWingNut’s book, you can dream on in your scary little world.

          • CharlesMartel732

            Please. Whenever liberals see something they disagree with they immediately reference 2 sources, Rush and ‘Faux News.’ Standard Operating Procedure.

          • Zen Grouch

            Rush is your god, but anyway, you missed the Tea Baggers…

            We liberals love bringing up the Tea Baggers too!

          • CharlesMartel732

            Oh yeah, I forgot, another thing that scares liberals, the Tea Party. Good thing the democrats and country club republicans are doing everything they can to shut them up.

          • Zen Grouch

            Well dang…

            My first response to your post seems to have vanished, like the Republican Party’s credibility, thanks to the Tea Baggers.

            But anyway…

            LIBERALS ARE AFRAID OF THE TEA BAGGERS?!

            That is sooo funny, to actually believe the entity that’s responsible for the disintegration of the Republican Party before our very eyes is something to be feared, rather than applauded for it’s comic relief?!

            **These poor Right WingNuts really are out of touch with reality.**

          • CharlesMartel732

            Liberals always tell you what they are afraid of, talk radio, ‘Faux News’ Tea Party. That’s why they have to target them with IRS investigations, go on national TV and whine that they can’t do anything because of ‘right wing’ opposition and use terms like ‘racism’ when you don’t agree with them.

          • Zen Grouch

            I think you’re mistaking sadness for fear.

            If anything the Liberals have to feel sorry for those on the Right who are gullible enough to eat from the FoxRush trough.

            **”Liberals always tell you what they are afraid of…” IN YOUR PSYCHOTIC DREAMS!**

            …off the topic, I appreciate your quick responses, making for a more fluid back and forth. But I’m gonna vaporize some weed, eat and then come back if I’m not too f’ed up.

            Later on Amigo!

          • CharlesMartel732

            Deuces

          • CharlesMartel732

            Watch out with that ‘lock and load’ stuff, you’ll scare liberals.

          • Zen Grouch

            I was talking about the *locked* minds on the Right, and the *load* they’re full of.

            And it’s funny to hear a Right WingNut, talk about the fear of the liberals!

            If you guys weren’t so dumb, you’d see the humor in that one for sure!

          • CharlesMartel732

            I think the locked minds are those who continue to vote “D” in the expectation that “D” is going to lift them out of poverty with promises of ‘Hope and Change.’

            Keep on hoping because the only thing that has changed is more people are in poverty.

          • Zen Grouch

            Dude…

            You reek of fear.

          • CharlesMartel732

            HA! Fear is the foundation of the progressive democrat party. That’s how they get their votes. They tell people they can’t make it on their own, they need big Daddy government, everything is against them, it’s somebody else’s fault, it’s racism,capitalism doesn’t work, on and on.

        • willlam

          Please spare us the ‘low-class’ adjectives and go get ‘high’ on your low-class ‘weed’ and alcohol!! Mr. Obama is NOT a “jig” he is your LEADER AND PRESIDENT of your United States of America! ps: NO retort is wanted or needed!

          • Zen Grouch

            Yes… yes… I understand. No retort wanted on needed.

            So please, try and think of this as a gift to…

            Umm, dang, this low class weed and booze, made me forget…

            Oh yeah, I was using irony to paint a clear picture of an ugly and plausibly deniable overtone that seems to be prevalent in certain circles.

          • jz

            Zen. You’re pretty good with a buzz. Myself. Couch lock shuts my fluidity down. Lucky if I can follow a Cavs game.

          • Zen Grouch

            Smoked some Snoop Dog last night and thought about firing up the ‘puter to rant a bit…

            …but couldn’t for the life of me see the point in wasting a fine buzz like that though.

          • Oneday67

            He is your president not mine. By the way is “jig” referring to his white part?

          • jz

            You missed Zens point. Fun reading these. I,m imagining everybody in a circle taking turns talking like they do on the tv show Criminal Minds. And her I come with “vote Libertarian”.

      • CharlesMartel732

        “I think liberals are responsible for all wars, disease, famine and pestilence.”
        Your right, look no further than Detroit to see what liberal/progressive democrat rule brings.

    • Michael A. Figueroa

      Um, no decision has been rendered in this case. What you’re seeing is the justice system at work, not the end of the world chaos that you lament.

      • CharlesMartel732

        That’s not my point. My point is that there is more fear of street justice than court justice. There is growing corruption from the Federal Government all the way down to the local level.

        • jz

          Of course there is a fear of street justice in many cases. That has nothing to do with government corruption. Take your Adderall.

      • Pablo Jones

        Um, no. An inspector general’s report is not a decision. The report is then sent to congress, department of justice, and to the FBI. As of the middle of January the FBI investigation is still on going and could continue for several more months.

        The opinion of those following it closely is that the whole IRS group was completely screwed up and no one knew what they were or weren’t allowed to do and because of that it would be hard to press charges against anyone because they didn’t “intentionally” violate the law. But it is still unknown how their “be on the look out” list was created and why it targeted only certain political groups.

        So laws were broken, inspector general, FBI, and justice department have acknowledge that. But no one knew what the laws were it is all good.

        Geez I wish I was never told it was wrong to steal or I could go and rob several banks and if caught say I didn’t know it was wrong.

    • jz

      Once again 2 separate situations. In regards to your larger, macro topic, the pendulum swings back and forth. We have been in a long period of conservatism at the higher court levels since Reagan now. Conservatism at its worse has also hurt us in some ways. Remember Kay Street? Just 1 example. Myself. I,ve voted Libertarian since Harry Brown. Nothing to do with the modern day version of liberal. In case you are ready to jump on that “old hat” argument.

  • Zen Grouch

    **Defense attorney Denise Wilms argued that allowing Sivert to testify
    about what Fowler and Blake told him would deny Miller his
    constitutional right to confront his accusers.**

    I wouldn’t be opposed to a constitutional amendment allowing for something our forefathers couldn’t have seen coming… namely, stand alone electronically recorded confessions, statements, witness accounts…

    • jz

      I would think that no matter what anyone said in a previous conversation/confession whatever, a defendant has to be able to confront his accusers at the actual trial. Anything leading up to the trial can be allowed or not allowed, ie, prejudicial, irrelavent, etc, but, at trial the right to confront is a basic right.

      • Zen Grouch

        I agree with your point, but don’t believe thugs should be rewarded for acts of intimidation and murder.

        But then, I don’t have enough faith in our broken justice system to care one way or the other.

        It’s a rigged game that, on occasion, allows the general public to catch of glimpse of what’s happening behind the big curtain (eg. OJ).

        Problem is, our collective memory is so numbed by constant exposure to the ridiculous, that our outrage is always short lived. I mean, unless someone gets a video of a cop whippin’ up on some poster child, black criminal caught in the act.

        • jz

          Unfortunately that happens sometimes but not because the system wants to reward anyone. As far as OJ, Casey Anthony, [baby killer in Florida], Jodi Arias, [boyfriend killer in Arizona], the jurys got it wrong. I don,t think anything is rigged.

          • Zen Grouch

            Well, I guess it’s best if the majority of the public really does believe that things aren’t rigged.

            And by rigged, I mean that justice is a crap shoot where luck matters just as much, if not more, than actual innocence or guilt.

          • jz

            You’re stretchin it there Zen. Yes, there are some high profile cases like the ones mentioned where the jurys screwed up. Overall the guilty are found guilty or plead down to lesser charges. Once in a while a guilty goes free, [luck]. Sometimes a totally innocent is found guilty. That is why the Innocent project and dna are good things. To make it sound like everything is “rigged’. That’s what happens with too much Indica rather than sativa. Moderation is the key to almost everything.

          • Zen Grouch

            I didn’t say, imply or “make it sound like” “everything” is rigged.

            Shame that I have to explain exactly what was said, however, you obviously didn’t understand the first or second time, when I stated that “it’s a rigged game.”

            For something to be rigged, or faulty where luck comes into how a system functions or malfunctions, the system does not need to be faulty or in error every single time or the majority of the time, especially a system that greatly effects the lives of individuals, a system that can remove our freedoms or lives.

            To manipulate an entity so that luck is more likely to be your friend is to rig it.

            To manipulate a broken system, in order to make it look like something it isn’t, as far as the degree to which it is flawed is concerned, is also rigging the system.

            To fool the general public into believing the flaws which can’t be hidden are totally acceptable, as you seem to believe… is to rig exquisitely.

            You’re correct, that moderation is the key to almost everything. Almost everything, except our justice system, where there should be no acceptable, moderate amount of manipulation.

          • Toad

            than spend ur life fixin it and stop complaning. whatr have you done to make it better. you brag here bout breaking the law. smoking weed. u are the one who has been lucky if you have not been arested by now

          • Zen Grouch

            Well, well, wellie, well, well!

            Here I am talking about things that aren’t what they claim to be, and YOU pop your phony head up!

            **Lucky MEEEEE!**

  • Pablo Jones

    The Republican party is disintegrating by themselves.

    • Zen Grouch

      You’re right… in the end, they are responsible for their own demise.

      They tried to appease the Tea Baggers out of fear of losing the feeble minded, do as they’re told, party members who make up the majority of their base.

  • Toad

    fowler looks good in stripes. i thought they wore orange now

  • My1stLove

    What a twisted world we live in!!! Threatened by the McCall’s to testify on Miller & threatened by Miller not to testify…WOW

    • Toad

      the life of a gang member. he said he feels the juge does not care bout him and will be responsibel for his death. i think he is the one responbel

      his actions caused him to live this life. now he blames it on a judge. he is a coward

  • Dairy Queen

    Lets put them all in the same cell and let them work it out. Last man standing wins end of story.