4 Ohio teens deny murder charges in highway sandbag killing

Four Ohio teenagers entered a denial to murder charges after police say they tossed a sandbag off a bridge onto a highway, killing 22-year-old Marquise Byrd. Photo by Activedia/Pixabay

Dec. 28 (UPI) — Four Ohio teens charged with murder after tossing a sandbag onto a highway appeared in court on Wednesday.

The four Toledo boys, aged 13 to 15, each entered a denial to charges of murder and vehicular vandalism in the death of 22-year-old Marquise Byrd.

“My client just wanted to express his remorse for the victim and his family,” Denise Stollings, an attorney representing one of the boys said.

The teens are accused of tossing a sandbag onto Interstate 75 from the Indiana Avenue bridge at about 10:10 p.m. Dec. 19. It smashed through the windshield of the vehicle Byrd was a passenger in, causing him blunt-force trauma to the head and neck.

Byrd, who was traveling to meet friends in Toledo, later died at a hospitalsurrounded by his family.

Byrd was engaged to be married and had a 2-year-old son, his family said.

“I don’t think their family know the pain they caused,” Byrd’s brother, Marcus Byrd, said of the teens. “You have New Years, his birthday, all this coming up, but before the New Year you have to bury your brother? You have to bury your son? That’s how you start the New Year?”

Toledo police said the teens intentionally threw the sandbag and other items from the overpass and officers saw them leaving the area.

Their charges were upgraded to murder on Tuesday, Toledo police Lt. Jeffrey Thieman said.

The suspects will remain in juvenile court systems because of their ages.

“These youth have really no record whatsoever. So, it’s honestly not crossing our minds that we would be able to get through the threshold that there’s not enough time in juvenile court to rehabilitate them,” Lori Olender, deputy chief of the juvenile division of the county prosecutor’s office, said.


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