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Archive for Thursday, September 28, 1995

COURT HEARS OTTAWA SHOOTING ACCOUNT

September 28, 1995

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— Details of a shooting Sunday in Ottawa emerged Wednesday in Franklin County District Court.

The murder of a 14-year-old girl occurred after a group of armed teen-agers went to her family's apartment to start a fight, authorities testified Wednesday.

During a court hearing for one of six boys detained in the shooting of Stephanie Perez, an Ottawa police detective testified that the boy described borrowing a gun and searching for ammunition before driving to the apartment building where the homicide occurred.

Bruce Hanson, the detective, said 16-year-old Ian Isaac Mastel went on to tell him the following:

Mastel and several friends drove to a field behind the Perezes' apartment in southwest Ottawa. The group intended to fight with Stephanie's brothers.

Two of the teen-agers, both armed, walked toward the apartment while Mastel and the others stayed behind.

"Isaac said he heard some shots, and they just scattered," Hanson testified.

Franklin County Attorney Larry Wright said authorities were continuing to search for the two armed suspects.

"There will be more arrests," he said, adding that authorities anticipated arresting one of the suspects within 24 hours. Two suspects were reportedly arrested Wednesday, but Franklin County officials could not confirm the report.

Wright would not identify the suspects or release any information about them.

Police said earlier that Stephanie died after suffering a single gunshot wound from a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol. Her mother, Paula Ellis, said Stephanie was walking to a neighbor's back porch to join her siblings when she was shot. She was not involved in the confrontation.

Mastel and his brother, Benjamin F. Mastel, 15, were among six teen-agers arrested within hours of the shooting.

The other four were identified in court records as: Kenneth R. Heth, 16; Nicholas C. Griffin, 16; Sean M. Pedrow, 17; and Toby W. Surber, 17.

On Wednesday, Griffin and Heth waived detention hearings -- the juvenile equivalent of adult bond hearings. District Judge Thomas Sachse approved an agreement between the boys' attorneys and prosecutors, allowing the boys to be held under house arrest.

The agreement, in which the boys will be monitored through electronic devices by community corrections officials, drew bitter criticism from Ellis.

"Their parents couldn't control them before. What makes them think they can control them now?" she said. "How many victims do there have to be before people realize these kids are constantly doing this?"

The Mastels both were ordered into juvenile detention to await appearances scheduled for today. Also scheduled to appear today are Heth, Griffin and Pedrow, who were named along with the Mastels in juvenile complaints alleging aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, which would be classified as felonies in adult court.

Surber is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 2. Prosecutors are trying Surber as an adult based on a previous adjudication, which is the juvenile term for being found guilty.

Court records showed that Surber was adjudicated on an allegation of aggravated intimidation of a witness stemming from the September 1994 beating death of Clyde R. Crowley, 57, Ottawa. Crowley was beaten in a city park after confronting a group of teens.

Prosecutors alleged that Surber attempted to prevent a 15-year-old Ottawa boy from testifying in court proceedings related to Crowley's death.

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