By Sue Botos
A 21-year-old Cleveland man accused of a Rocky River shooting that left one man dead and another wounded has been indicted on murder charges by a Cuyahoga County grand jury.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced that Donovan Owens was arraigned in a six-count indictment, including murder, manslaughter, discharging a firearm on or near a prohibited premises, tampering with evidence, felonious assault and trafficking.
Owens is charged with killing Michael MacGillis, 39, of Rocky River, on Jan. 24 at about 9:50 p.m. on Westway Drive near Wagar Road. Owens also shot 43-year-old Andrew Geraci, striking him in the hand and upper right arm. The two victims are said to have been walking down the street when Owens shot at them from his vehicle. MacGillis was a resident of a South Bend Circle apartment, which he was sharing with Geraci at the time of the shooting.
According to information from McGinty’s office, the two victims had met Owens for an exchange of drugs. Authorities said it’s possible that the victims called Owens to purchase heroin, then tried to rob him and a passenger in Owens’ car, Charles Summers. Summers faces a number of drug and weapons charges.
After the shooting, Owens fled the area in his vehicle, but turned himself in to Rocky River police the next day. He is currently being held on a $150,000 bond.
Prosecutors had charged Owens with aggravated murder shortly after the fatal shooting, but eventually withdrew the charge. Jack Hilderbrand, the defense attorney appointed by the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, argued that his client had been acting in self-defense, and should not be charged.
Prosecutors were not swayed when Hilderbrand cited Ohio’s Castle Doctrine, which states that an individual has the right to protect himself or herself if someone breaks into their occupied home or vehicle. This protection could include the use of deadly force. According to Hilderbrand, MacGillis allegedly reached into Owens’ car and threatened him.
The Castle Doctrine, which varies from state to state, was signed by then Gov. Ted Strickland in 2008. Known as SB 184, it also attempts to clear up ambiguous sections of Ohio’s concealed-carry law.