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Gibson's shoplift case heads to county prosecutor

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OBERLIN — A robbery charge against a teen allegedly caught shoplifting wine from Gibson’s Bakery is heading to the Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will’s office for review.

According to Oberlin Municipal Court records, the case against Jonathan Aladin was formally dismissed Wednesday.

Prosecutor Frank Carlson announced his plans to throw out the felony charge last week after Oberlin Municipal Court Judge Thomas Januzzi refused a plea deal in which Aladin would plead guilty to a reduced charge of attempted theft, a misdemeanor.

The plea deal also said that Aladin would be placed on diversion, in which he would plead guilty, but the case would ultimately be dismissed if he successfully completed a year of probation.

According to police, Aladin, 19, allegedly tried buy a bottle of wine at Gibson’s Bakery while also concealing two bottles of wine under his shirt. After Allyn Gibson, whose family owns the store, refused to sell him the wine, he confronted Aladin about the bottles of wine he suspected the Oberlin College student of trying to steal.

Aladin then allegedly slapped Gibson’s phone out of his hand, causing it to strike his face, and then fled, breaking two bottles of wine on his way out, police reported.

Gibson, who is white, pursued him out the door and across the street, where there was a physical confrontation. When police arrived, they said they saw Gibson on the ground with Aladin and two other students — Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone, all three of whom are black — punching him, the report said.

After the incident, some Oberlin College students called for a boycott of the bakery and said the arrest was the result of racial profiling. The administration at Oberlin College also halted orders from the bakery and has yet to resume buying from the store.

However, community members responded with overwhelming support for Gibson’s and customers filled the store with purchases for days after the event.

Aladin’s lawyer, Robert Beck, argued that the plea deal would give Aladin, Gibson’s and the community a chance to move on from the incident.

In rejecting the plea deal, Januzzi said the best way for the community to heal might be a public trial in which the facts are laid out for people to draw their own conclusions.

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or jweinberger@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.



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