By J. STEVEN DILLON
The first of three people charged in a February murder at a Findlay motel pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced charge in exchange for his cooperation against two co-defendants.
Husam H. Coleman, 37, of Chicago, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter by Judge Reginald Routson during a hearing in Hancock County Common Pleas Court.
A plea bargain agreement outlined in court by Assistant Prosecutor Steve Powell calls for Coleman to be sentenced Nov. 17 to five years in prison after he provides prosecutors with a statement describing the Feb. 17 homicide at the Economy Lodge motel on Emma Street.
Marcus Alexander, 31, of Toledo, died after being shot by Coleman with a .44-caliber handgun.
Before the plea bargain, Coleman had faced two murder charges. The voluntary manslaughter charge is a reduced version of one of the murder counts. It says Coleman caused Alexander’s death while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, brought on by serious provocation by Alexander.
Coleman’s case had been scheduled for trial next week, but got resolved after an investigation by Findlay police led to the recent indictments of Jessica L. Kisseberth, 27, of Leipsic, and Joseph V. Fleming, 27, of Toledo.
Both Kisseberth and Fleming are facing murder and robbery charges in connection with Alexander’s death.
Hancock County Prosecutor Phil Riegle has said Alexander was acquainted with Kisseberth and Fleming, and alleges that all three were involved in a robbery scheme in which Coleman was the target.
It was following the alleged robbery that Alexander was shot outside a motel room. A coroner’s report indicated Alexander was shot three times.
Coleman was arrested at a north side Findlay residence several hours after the shooting.
Kisseberth and Fleming fled the shooting scene and were only identified as suspects through the police investigation. Like Coleman, they are both being held in the Hancock County jail.
Coleman, who is represented by Findlay attorney Drew Wortman, was originally charged with two counts of murder and having a weapon under disability, and had faced 15 years to life in prison had he been convicted.
The murder counts, which would have been merged had the case gone to trial, alleged that Coleman purposely caused the death of Alexander while in possession of a gun, and that he caused Alexander’s death during a felonious assault.
The weapons charge resulted because Coleman was barred from legally possessing or using a firearm because of 2005 drug conviction in Wisconsin.
A gun specification attached to the first murder charge, plus the second murder count and the disability charge, were all dismissed as part of the plea bargain.
Coleman agreed to make restitution of one-third of Alexander’s $1,000 funeral costs, and to pay court costs from money found in his possession after the shooting.
He will be given credit for time served in the Hancock County jail when sentenced.
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