YOUNGSTOWN - A man on trial in a murder over stolen electricity said in a suppression hearing Tuesday he took so many drugs before police interviewed him that he had no idea what was going on.
Michael Paige, 20, of Bennington Avenue, who is on trial in the March 2 death of Munir Blake, 31, testified before Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Sweeney that he smoked marijuana all day before he was arrested, including in the parking lot of the police department before he turned himself in.
Paige said he also took a methadone pill and a Percocet pill in the parking lot in addition to the marijuana and was not able to focus during his interview.
''I was so high I just really had no idea what was going on,'' Paige said.
During his interview the day after the murder, Paige made incriminating statements that his defense team wants thrown out.
Paige said he told detectives a woman charged with obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence, Jasmin Fletcher, 22, was the person who killed Blake in the North Side shooting, but he changed his story when he said investigators told him he could get charged with manslaughter instead of aggravated murder, which carries a prison term of life.
''I didn't know what else to say. I thought maybe it would help,'' Paige testified.
Police said Fletcher, in Apt. 1 of 233 Lora Ave., tapped into Blake's electrical service in Apt. 2. When Blake pulled the plug and confronted her, he was shot multiple times, police said.
Police had been called to the house by Blake, who lived downstairs, complaining that Fletcher was stealing electricity from him because her electricity had been shut off.
The following day, police were called to the house for the shooting. Officers found Blake lying by a back door with a neighbor trying to stop his bleeding.
The man tending to Blake told police that he was at his home when two of Blake's children pounded on his door and told them their father had been shot.
Under direct examination from co-defense counsel Tim Cunning, Paige said he had quit school after the eighth grade when he received all failing grades and, until he was arrested, he smoked marijuana at least once a day.
Paige said police questioned him the night of Blake's murder but released him. He said the next day he heard he was wanted for aggravated murder and he immediately began smoking marijuana.
''I had no idea what was going on,'' Paige said when asked what his mindset was when he was interviewed by detectives for the second time.
Paige also said he could not read, yet when he was given Fletcher's statement by accident and asked if had signed the statement to waive the reading of his rights, he immediately said that the signature was not his but Fletcher's.