Posted on 5/9/2019

Defendant: Masonique B. Saunders

Masonique B. Saunders was charged as a Juvenile in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Division with Murder under Section 2903.02(B) ORC (Felony Murder) and Aggravated Robbery with a Firearm, both offenses based on the Complicity statute (2923.03 ORC) that holds an accomplice or co-conspirator equally guilty with the primary or principal offender. The Felony Murder statute applies when a first or second degree felony offense of violence is committed and a death is proximately caused by that crime. The basis for the Felony Murder charge was that on December 7, 2018 Ms. Saunders and Julius Tate planned and committed an Aggravated Robbery, a first degree felony offense of violence, and Mr. Tate was shot and killed during the Attempted Robbery by an undercover police officer involved in investigating a series of Aggravated Robberies that occurred in the same area during transactions to sell cell phones that had been advertised via an on-line phone app.  The same name and phone number used by Ms. Saunders and Mr. Tate for the transaction with the undercover officer had been used on November 28, 2018 at the same location where a woman with a child was robbed and pistol whipped. After the charge was filed the prosecution filed a motion to bind Ms. Saunders over for trial as an adult, which is mandatory for a 16 year old when the charge is Murder. That hearing was scheduled for May 9, 2019 before Judge James Brown. Ms. Saunders is represented by Attorney Jon Tyack, who has been provided complete discovery under court rules as to the state’s evidence.
A bindover hearing will not be held because an agreement has been reached, subject to the approval of Judge Brown, in which the state will withdraw the request to try Ms. Saunders in adult court and she will admit guilt to the lesser included offense of Involuntary Manslaughter and the Aggravated Robbery from the December 7, 2018 incident that resulted in the shooting death of Julius Tate, as well as the November 28, 2018 Aggravated Robbery, with a recommended three year commitment to the Dept. of Youth Services where she will be eligible for early release after two years conditioned on good behavior. Ms. Saunders, in the presence of her counsel, has given a proffered statement that describes the crime spree of Mr. Tate and her by setting up cellphone sales transactions online for robberies. A 9mm Kel-Tec handgun was used in these robberies and was found at the scene. After her statement Ms. Saunders agreed to take a polygraph examination administered by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which was with the consent of her counsel and parent.
On May 6, 2019 OSHP Tpr. Sharp administered a polygraph to Ms. Saunders and concluded there were no signs of deception as to her admitted involvement in the Robbery of the undercover officer that resulted in the death of Mr. Tate.