LIMA — A second person has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the May 27 drug-related death of a Lima man inside a city motel room.
Dejuan Lucas, 26, was indicted by the recent session of the grand jury on charges of corrupting another with drugs and involuntary manslaughter. The charges, felonies of the second- and third-degree, respectively, are related to the death this summer of Dino Gerdeman, 59.
The indictment alleges that Lucas did knowingly furnish fentanyl to Gerdeman “with purpose to cause serious physical harm” or to cause him to become drug dependent.
Gerdeman’s body was found shortly after midnight on May 27 in Room 252 at the Travelodge Motel, 805 S. Leonard Ave. Police were called to the scene in reference to a disturbance.
Detective Brian Snyder of the Lima Police Department said officers found Gerdeman was without vital signs and was “cold to the touch.”
The man’s death appeared suspicious, and an investigation was launched, Snyder said. Several leads were followed, which eventually resulted in the arrest of Kaelonda Peoples-Fuqua, 19. She was ultimately charged with involuntary manslaughter related to Gerdeman’s death and has pleaded not guilty to the charge. Her next scheduled court appearance is Nov. 13.
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 a hearing in Lima Municipal Court, Fuqua’s attorney described his client as an employee of Gerdeman’s. According to Attorney Kenneth Rexford, Peoples-Fuqua “was instructed to do multiple tasks” for Gerdeman, including the procurement of drugs.