Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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13-year-old who admitted to robbery, felonious assault won't withdraw plea

A teenager who admitted to robbing another youth and firing a gun at a woman at a fast-food restaurant will not withdraw his plea after his former attorney was charged with a drug offense.

Jo’Renzo Phillips, 13, appeared Tuesday in Lucas County Juvenile Court for what would have been his sentencing. The boy admitted May 4 to felonious assault with a gun specification and an amended charge of robbery, both second-degree felonies. He was originally charged with aggravated robbery with a gun specification, though that charge was amended with his plea.

His attorney who negotiated the plea, Kenneth Phillips, was charged May 14 with possessing less than 1 gram of heroin.

The boy’s new attorney, Sarah Haberland, told Judge Connie Zemmelman her client did not wish to withdraw his plea but asked for detention modification following the recent death of his father, which was denied. Disposition of the case was rescheduled for Tuesday.

Ten of the Phillips youth’s family members were in court, including his mother. The family declined to comment after the hearing.

The April 18 incidents happened near Robinson Elementary School, 1075 Horace St., and at McDonald’s, 3008 Monroe St. The Phillips boy and his friends encountered another boy on his bike near the school. The Phillips youth asked the other for his shoes and cell phone. That boy ran.

Shortly after, the Phillips youth and his friends went to McDonald’s and were asked to leave after causing a disturbance. Phillips argued with Reva Kelly, 47, in the restaurant after she admonished him. He then went outside McDonald’s and fired two shots from a .380 pistol at Ms. Kelly, who was not struck.

Contact Alexandra Mester at: amester@theblade.com419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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