December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Officer: Mob hunted down man on night he was killed

Todd Wells, left, and his attorney, Doug Merrill, appear at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. Wells is one of four people charged with murdering Davion Strupe earlier this month. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Todd Wells, left, and his attorney, Doug Merrill, appear at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. Wells is one of four people charged with murdering Davion Strupe earlier this month. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — A large group was out looking for Davion Strupe the night he was shot and killed because he had been dealing drugs in the Westway Garden Apartments, Elyria police Detective James Homoki said Wednesday in Elyria Municipal Court.

Homoki said Strupe, 24, had been trying to sell drugs July 1 on Barbara Street, which led to an argument with Iesha Newson. As Strupe was walking away, Homoki said, he stared at Newson, who called her boyfriend, Dean Martin Jr.

Martin, who arrived about 15 minutes later, and several others began searching for Strupe and, after mistakenly accosting someone else, tracked him to 1143 Garden St.

Homoki said that several people, including Todd Wells and Markus Martin, who both face charges including aggravated burglary and murder, forced their way past the resident into the apartment and began attacking Strupe.

Davion Strupe

Davion Strupe

He said Strupe was dragged outside, where he was punched, kicked and struck with paver bricks and a lawn chair.

Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said after the hearing that witnesses told officers that Strupe also was struck with a child’s scooter, but that wasn’t recovered from the scene.

Homoki said Strupe was able to break away from the melee and flee, but stumbled and fell. The beating then resumed, he said, before Strupe was once again able to run.

At that point, Homoki said, Martin yelled out for the suspected gunman, identified as 17-year-old Tristen Belfiore, to shoot Strupe. He said police recovered 10 spent shells from the scene, although Strupe was shot only once.

He said the wounded Strupe made it to an apartment on the corner of Infirmary Road and was banging on the door asking for help. When police arrived, they found a woman holding the bleeding and unconscious Strupe, who died from the gunshot wound.

Attorneys Anthony Baker, who represents Martin, and Doug Merrill, who represents Wells, pushed Homoki to reveal the names of the witnesses who had told police about their clients being there and being involved in Strupe’s death, but Elyria City Prosecutor Scott Strait objected.

Strait said that there have been “credible threats” against witnesses in the case and revealing the identities of whose who had evidence linking Martin and Wells to the killing could place them in danger. Elyria Municipal Court Judge Gary Bennett, who found probable cause to send the charges against Martin and Wells to a grand jury, cited those safety concerns in not allowing Homoki to identify witnesses by name.

In addition to Wells and Martin, Anthony Marcano also is charged with murder in the case. Belfiore has been charged with aggravated murder and prosecutors expect to transfer his case from juvenile court into the adult criminal justice system.

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