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Cops & Courts

Police: Diestler knew they were after him


ELYRIA — When Elyria police detectives pulled over Jeremy Diestler the day after he allegedly gunned down Matthew Stinson, he claimed to have been expecting to be confronted by police.

“I knew this was coming,” Elyria police Officer John Davidson said Diestler told him when he asked why he had immediately stuck his hands out the window after bringing his SUV to a stop.

Davidson also told jurors during the fourth day of Diestler’s aggravated murder trial that the 32-year-old admitted having been at the Wesley Avenue apartment complex where Stinson was shot and killed Sept. 17, 2014, but didn’t admit to having a role in the killing.

“He said he went to his buddy Matt’s to buy some marijuana, heard some gunshots and drove away,” Davidson testified Thursday.

Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Donna Freeman has argued throughout the trial that Diestler disliked the 25-year-old Stinson and planned and carried out his murder.

She has said he stole guns his father kept at the Medina County home of his grandmother and then took an AR-10 high-powered rifle and a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol to the Elyria apartment complex. Diestler then allegedly called Stinson to lure him outside on the pretense of a drug deal before shooting him five times with the rifle.

Stinson staggered back into his apartment building and collapsed at the bottom of a stairwell, where Diestler allegedly shot him five times in the head. He also allegedly shot at Angela Ward, who also lived in the building, grazing her shoulder before he fled.

Defense attorney Jack Bradley has said his client, a heroin addict, had gone to the apartment building to buy drugs.

Davidson and other police said they found several firearms both in Diestler’s Chevrolet Tahoe and at his mother’s Grafton home, where he had been staying. An AK-47 and a .38-caliber revolver were found in the truck, while the AR-10 and the semi-automatic pistol were found at the house.

Davidson also said that police found a spent rifle round between the hood and the windshield during the traffic stop.

Defense attorney Michael Stepanik questioned officers about their investigations into Stinson’s drug dealing and the weapons they found in the apartment he shared with Sharon Whitmore.

Officer Michael Fairbanks said heroin and marijuana were found there as well as four handguns and two pellet guns. Stepanik said there were also three swords, a Bowie knife, sickles and a homemade weapon comprised of a steel pipe with a knife blade.

Bradley has pointed out that when Stinson was killed he was carrying a hunting knife, cash and heroin.

The final witness of the day, Christine Hammett, told jurors that she found blood on Diestler’s shoes when he was analyzing them at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab where she works.

The trial resumes Monday before county Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

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