WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Braceville man charged with killing 27-year-old Marlon Smith in Warren earlier this year has taken responsibility for the crime.
On Tuesday, Walter Toles pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
“Mr. Toles has accepted responsibility with the plea agreement and he has conveyed to me to address the court that he is remorseful for his actions…and he is sorry,” said Defense Atty. David Rouzzo.
A judge sentenced Toles to 20 years to life in prison. He must also register as a violent offender.
“Given Mr. Toles’ record, I’m very confident he will not be out in 20 years. It’ll be much longer than that and most likely, he’ll die in prison,” said Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker.
It’s been a little more than five months since Smith was found stabbed to death inside of his home on Oriole Place. The Trumbull County Coroner’s Office said he died of a stab wound to the neck.
“Only a monster would do something like this,” said Angela Smith, the victim’s mother. “You took his kindness for weakness. Only words I could describe is, just a monster. No regard for human life.”
Detectives say Toles and Smith knew each other.
“This was one of the most pointless and senseless crimes we’ve seen here in a while,” Becker said.
Prosecutors said quick work by detectives led to Toles’ arrest just hours after Smith’s body was found.
Police said evidence at the crime scene led detectives to Toles’ home in Braceville Township. According to an affidavit for a search warrant, Smith’s cell phone was missing from the murder scene but Toles’ driver’s license and an “Ohio corrections card” belonging to Toles were found in the couch where Smith’s body was found.
When detectives went to Toles’ home in Braceville, they called the victim’s cell phone and reported hearing the ring, according to the affidavit.
Police took Toles into custody and reported finding the victim’s cell phone, a screwdriver and a folding knife during a pat-down search.
On Tuesday afternoon, Smith’s family got some justice. But the victim’s mother was overcome with emotion as deputies led her son’s killer away.
“How could you do this to him?”