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Published: Sunday, 1/27/2013

Man charged with murder rejects plea deal, says he wants a new lawyer

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jose Moya, Jr., left, appears in Wood County Common Pleas Court in Bowling Green with attorney Omar Shaaban. Moya, accused in the July 22 death of Leandra Frankum, is charged with murder and tampering with evidence.  Jose Moya, Jr., left, appears in Wood County Common Pleas Court in Bowling Green with attorney Omar Shaaban. Moya, accused in the July 22 death of Leandra Frankum, is charged with murder and tampering with evidence.
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BOWLING GREEN — A Toledo man charged in the shooting death of a Perrysburg Township woman was expected to change his not-guilty plea Friday, but instead told the court he wanted a new lawyer.

Jose Moya, Jr., 24, rejected a plea agreement offered by prosecutors and told Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry he was “not seeing eye to eye” with his court-appointed attorney, Omar Shaaban.

“He ain’t helping me in the situation I’m in because I’m not going to plead to something I didn’t do,” Moya said.

He is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the July 22 death of Leandra Frankum, 21. Ms. Frankum, who had been described as his on-again, off-again girlfriend, was shot once in the head after she and Moya allegedly quarreled at a home in the Perrysburg Heights neighborhood.

Gwen Howe-Gebers, chief assistant Wood County prosecutor, told the court Moya had been offered the opportunity to plead guilty to a charge of murder with a three-year firearms specification. In turn, prosecutors would dismiss a specification that he is a repeat violent offender, which carries a prison term of up to 10 years, and a felony charge of tampering with evidence, which carries a prison term of up to three years.

Judge Mayberry explained to Moya that the offer may not be on the table in the future, but Moya said he still wanted new legal counsel. Mr. Shaaban, for his part, asked the court to be taken off the case, saying there had been “a major breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.”

Judge Mayberry ultimately agreed to appoint a new lawyer for Moya but told him the court would choose the attorney.

“He is not paid for by you. He is paid by the court, and therefore, it is the court’s decision who is hired and who is fired, not yours,” the judge said. “... It’s going to be an attorney appointed by the court; it’s not going to be your decision. We’re not going to keep kicking this can down the road forever.”

No trial date was scheduled.

Members of both Moya’s and Ms. Frankum’s families packed the courtroom and twice were warned to keep their comments to themselves. As Moya was led away by court security, several people called out derogatory names.

“Folks, if you’re going to act like this, you’re not going to be permitted back in the courtroom,” Judge Mayberry warned. “This isn’t out on the street. This is a courtroom.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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