ELYRIA — Jeremy Diestler wanted Matthew Stinson dead, Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Donna Freeman told jurors Monday in the first day of Diestler’s aggravated murder trial.
“The evidence will show he didn’t like the victim,” Freeman said in her opening statement. “He thought he was cocky. He thought he was an arrogant drug dealer, and he also thought he had ripped him off. So he made a decision on that day to go over to that apartment complex and kill the victim, and he planned it.”
Freeman said Diestler, 32, armed himself with a high-powered rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol Sept. 17, 2014, that were among weapons he’d stolen from his father and drove to the Wesley Avenue apartment complex in Elyria where Stinson lived.
Four minutes before the shooting, she said, Diestler, who lived in Medina, called Stinson and told him he wanted to buy some drugs in order to lure Stinson downstairs where he opened fire with the rifle as Stinson came out of his apartment building.
“He pulls out the high-powered rifle, and he shoots him,” Freeman said.
Stinson was hit once in the shoulder as he was walking out and four more times in the torso as he tried to run back into the apartment building, where he collapsed at the bottom of a stairwell, Freeman said.
Elyria police Officer Joe Figula Jr. testified that officers found bullets about 72 feet away from the front of the door leading into the building.
After shooting him with the rifle, Diestler followed Stinson into the building armed with the handgun, Freeman said.
“Jeremy Diestler, the defendant, takes this 9 mm semiautomatic pistol and shoots him five times in the head,” she said. “Five bullets to the left side of his head. He wanted him dead.”
After the shooting, Angela Wade, who also lived in the apartment complex, walked out of her apartment to see what was going on, and Diestler took the handgun and fired at least four rounds toward her, Freeman said. One of those bullets grazed her shoulder.
Diestler then fled and hid the weapons at his mother’s house, where police later recovered the rifle from the garage and the handgun hidden under a sink, she said.
Defense attorney Jack Bradley said Freeman won’t be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Diestler is guilty of aggravated murder and other charges.
In his opening statement, Bradley focused on Stinson’s past, saying he had a criminal record that barred him from owning firearms, although several guns were found in his apartment by police after the shooting.
He also argued that Stinson was a heroin dealer who police wanted to get off the streets.
“The evidence in this case also will demonstrate to you that the Elyria police believed that Matthew Stinson was cocky, arrogant and thought that he could do anything he wanted to,” Bradley said. “The evidence will prove to you in this case that Matthew Stinson was poisoning members of our community.”
Bradley said that Stinson was armed with a hunting knife and carrying heroin and cash when he was shot.
Bradley also said that some witnesses told police they believed the shooter was black. Diestler is white. Bradley also suggested that one of Diestler’s brothers may have been upset with Stinson because he suspected Stinson was involved in robbing a woman he knew a few months prior to the killing.
“There’s a lot of complicated things in this case, ladies and gentlemen,” Bradley said.
Police have said Diestler confessed to the killing, but county Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi threw out most of that conversation after concluding that detectives improperly continued interviewing Diestler after he had said he was done talking to them.
The trial resumes today.
- Murder suspect says his dealer was trying to sell bad drugs
- Calls from jail presented as prosecution rests in Medina man's murder case
- Diestler sentenced to 41 years to life for Stinson murder
- Diestler found guilty of murder
- Testimony continues in murder trial of Medina man
- Witnesses describe shooting scene
- Testimony: Head shots were instantly fatal
- Police: Diestler knew they were after him
- Judge tosses murder confession of Medina man
- James E. Diestler
- Medina man charged in fatal Elyria shooting
- Medina man charged in Elyria shooting