LIMA — An Allen County grand jury has returned a charge of involuntary manslaughter against a Lima teenager who previously had been jailed on a count of corrupting another with drugs.
Kaelonda Peoples-Fuqua, 19, was arraigned Monday in Allen County Common Pleas Court in connection with the May death of Dino Gerdeman in a city motel room. She entered a written plea of not guilty.
According to Det. Brian Snyder of the Lima Police Department, officers responded shortly after midnight on May 27 to Room 252 at the Travelodge motel, 805 S. Leonard Ave., in reference to a disturbance.
In his report, Snyder said that officers upon entering the motel room observed an unresponsive male who did not exhibit any vital signs and was “cold to the touch.” The man was subsequently identified as Gerdeman, 59.
The man’s death appeared suspicious in nature, and an investigation was launched, Snyder said. Several leads were followed, which eventually resulted in Peoples-Fuqua being taken into custody.
Three women in the room were interviewed by police, and one of them told police that Peoples-Fuqua had given Gerdeman some cocaine, according to court documents.
Peoples-Fuqua reportedly admitted to police that she had set up a party at the motel for Gerdeman’s birthday. She also admitted purchasing drugs and furnishing them to the victim. A search of Gerdeman’s phone reportedly revealed selfie photos of Fuqua “with Dino, who appears to be deceased in the pictures,” according to court documents.
At an earlier hearing in Lima Municipal Court, Fuqua’s attorney described his client as an employee of Gerdeman’s. According to Kenneth Rexford, as an employee, Peoples-Fuqua “was instructed to do multiple tasks” for Gerdeman, including the procurement of drugs.