Michael Fizer was celebrating his birthday last June 9, drinking so much, he said, that he was asleep in the backseat of a car when his childhood friend in the front seat was fatally shot in the head.
Fizer, 28, of 2361 Hollywood Ave., who pleaded no contest in April to tampering with evidence in the case, told Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda Wednesday that he didn’t know La’Sean Robinson, Jr., had been shot but admitted he later discarded a pair of shorts with blood on them because he was scared.
“I couldn’t believe something like this was happening. I had a million things going through my brain,” Fizer said. “I didn’t even know what really happened inside the car.”
Judge Zmuda, who said it was “hard to believe” he could be so intoxicated he did not hear the gunfire, ordered Fizer to spend six months at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Toledo. He placed Fizer on community control for five years, ordered him to complete 200 hours of community service, and said he must attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and complete any recommended substance abuse or mental health treatment once he is released from the Correctional Treatment Facility.
“Certainly you had consumed enough of something that it prevented you from being awakened as a consequence of a firearm in a closed car going off, and the noise that that made was insufficient to arouse you,” Judge Zmuda said. “That says something terribly wrong about your lifestyle, Mr. Fizer.”
Fizer, who said he no longer drinks, told the court he wished Mr. Robinson’s mother was in court so that he could apologize to her.
The victim’s family members were in court March 15 when Charles McCuin, 21, of 4130 Isadore Lane, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter with a firearms specification and tampering with evidence. McCuin contended the gun had discharged accidentally.
After the shooting, McCuin and Xavier Tate, who was driving the car, allegedly stripped Mr. Robinson’s body and left him in a North Toledo field where a passer-by found him the next day. They also allegedly got rid of the gun and cleaned up the car.
Tate, 29, of 161 Austin St., is charged with tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. While he has a pretrial hearing in that case set for June 28, Tate pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin and felon in possession of a firearm from an unrelated incident. He is to be sentenced Aug. 26 by Judge Jeffrey Helmick.
By Jennifer Feehan - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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