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Murder case to be retried

Shawn Foucher • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

As attorneys suit up to retry a Sandusky murder case from 2008, the victim’s mother is hoping for some face-to-face time with the killer.


“Maybe he has something to tell me,” said Queen Amison, 58, of Sandusky. “I want to know what happened at the house with my son. I really do."


Amison appeared Monday in Erie County Common Pleas Court, where county prosecutor Kevin Baxter and attorneys for Thomas Ricks, 27, were sorting out details in his upcoming trial — retrial, actually — in the 2008 murder of Calvin Harper Jr.


Ricks, of Detroit, was convicted of Harper’s murder in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors have said he was hired by a drug dealer to kill Harper and rob him of $20,000 in drug money.


Ricks appealed his conviction, and higher courts recently determined hearsay had been admitted into the original trial. They sent it back to Erie County Common Pleas Court to be retried.


On Monday, Ricks’ attorney, Jeffry Kelleher, of Cleveland, told Judge Roger Binette he’s still sifting through the voluminous evidence in the case.


Baxter said he has offered Ricks a deal of 30 years to life if he pleads guilty to aggravated murder, with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Kelleher said he’s still mulling the offer, as it has some unspecified conditions attached.


Amison, Harper’s mother, said it won’t be easy to sit through another weeklong trial, but in the meantime she wants the opportunity to talk to Ricks in prison, if only to ask him what really happened to her son.


Binette said the trial, expected to last about eight days, will be scheduled at a March 17 pretrial hearing.

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