The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 7, 2014

Grand jury indicts two in killing of Ashtabula mother, son

JEFFERSON — A grand jury indicted two men accused of shooting an Ashtabula woman and her son to death and critically wounding another son in January.

Taquan Mathers, 22, of Ashtabula, and Marcus Lashley, 21, of Cleveland, were indicted Wednesday on two counts of aggravated murder, with firearm specification and death; two counts of prior calculation aggravated murder, with firearm specification and death; two counts of attempted aggravated murder, with firearm specification; one count of aggravated robbery, with firearm specification, and one court of aggravated burglary with firearm specification, according to Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci.

The men are two of three people charged in the Jan. 27 murders of Lydia Aviles Mook-Colon, 43, and her son, Xavier Mook-Colon. Another son, Benny Mook-Colon, 23, remains hospitalized and is recovering from his injuries, according to friends of the family.

All three were shot in the kitchen of their duplex at 2106 Norman Ave., authorities have said. Xavier was pronounced dead at the scene, while his mother died a few hours later while undergoing surgery at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

Mathers has been held on unrelated weapon charges shortly after the murders. The grand jury indicted him on two counts of having weapons under disability in another case Wednesday, Iarocci said.

According to law enforcement and prosecutors, on the afternoon of Jan. 27, Mathers and Lashley forced their way into the duplex, committed the crimes and then fled to a waiting vehicle.

Prosecutors are calling 19-year-old Brianna Bernard of Ashtabula a “person of interest” in the Norman Avenue murders, but so far, she’s been indicted on charges of complicity to aggravated murder, with firearm specifications, in connection with the Nov. 25 shooting on Hiawatha Avenue, according to court records.

Prosecutors believe Bernard drove the get-away vehicle in November’s fatal shooting, according to court records.

Shortly after the murders, Lashley and Lewis Arnold, 24, of Cleveland, became the No. 1 suspects. They were the subjects of an intensive manhunt by local, state and federal law enforcement.

On Feb. 3, police arrested Arnold at a Woodman Avenue apartment in Ashtabula. He was taken without incident. He has been charged with possession of drugs, and tampering with evidence, both third-degree felonies, according to Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court records.

Mathers was picked up by police as a “person of interest.”

U.S. Marshals arrested Lashley on Feb. 11 in East Cleveland. The Marshals surrounded the home for more than a hour before they were able to get in and arrest Lashley. Authorities also recovered  a .380 caliber handgun at the scene.

Ashtabula City Solicitor Michael Franklin has said his office believes the men targeted a duplex on Norman Avenue for a robbery, but ended up going to the wrong unit.

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