Cosmic Pizza shooting: Prosecutor Joe Deters will seek death penalty against John Deloney

Pizzeria owner was shot twice in back

CINCINNATI - Showing dramatic photos of the shooting and revealing that the Cosmic Pizza owner had been shot in the back twice, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Friday that he would seek the death penalty against accused killer John Deloney.

"It was clearly a heinous crime, and he deserves to be executed for what he did," Deters said.

A grand jury indicted Deloney, 27, on aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted of both. Deloney allegedly killed Richard Evans, 50, during an attempted robbery at the Hartwell pizzeria last Saturday evening.

Deters displayed two dramatic photos from the shooting. He said they showed Evans' wife cowering on the floor next to Deloney while Deloney fired at Evans, who was trying to run out of the building.

The photos were taken from video captured by a "sophisticated" security system inside the pizzeria, Deters said.

A video of the shooting will be shown at trial, Deters said.

Deters said Deloney ordered food and then pulled out a gun and demanded money. Evans and Deloney struggled over the gun, and Evans was shot at close range. As Evans attempted to escape, Deloney shot him three more times, Deters said.

The two shots to the back were fatal, Deters said.

"The fatal shots to Mr. Evans were literally as he was exiting the building," Deters said. "(Evans was) obviously not threat to the defendant."

Evans stumbled out of the restaurant and died in the front yard of the home next door on Woodsdale Avenue.

Evans' three children were also in pizzeria at the time of the shooting, in a back play area, Deters said. The children and Evans' wife were not injured.

Deloney did not get any money, Deters said.

"This was a cold-blooded, cowardly murder," Deters said.

Deters praised detectives for identifying the suspect, noting that Deloney has a twin brother with identical DNA.

"They had to scour the scene for fingerprints, which aren't identical," Deters said.

Deloney turned himself in to Indianapolis police Wednesday. Deters said officials here were working on having Deloney extradited and jailed in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

Deloney had a criminal history in Ohio and Indiana but not a violent one. He was arrested in early May in connection with a credit card theft at the Hollywood Casino and was released June 10 on $1,500 bond. He was charged with stealing a pickup truck in 2011 and a judge gave him probation.

Evans' funeral was held Friday.

 

Fellow restaurant owner Pete Zimmer was one of the many people who paid their respects to their friend and his family during the day.

The owner of Smoq in Springdale says Evans was a customer at this eatery and their relationship gradually grew into a friendship once they started talking about something both of them love: Evans' pizzeria.

"When we were talking he mentioned the pizzeria used to be called Capri and I told him my grandfather started Capri pizza back in 1949," said Zimmer. "We had a connection from back then."

That connection was one of the many reasons the "senseless act" of violence last Saturday affected Zimmer.  He's also been thinking about the needs of Evans' family. 

"Richard was such a good family guy and when I looked at those children in there, it's heart wrenching," he said. "This was absolutely senseless."

Zimmer plans to hold a fundraiser for Evans' widow and three children Thursday at his restaurant. All pizza sales sold during "Cosmic Pizza Day" will go to the family. 

Another fund for Evans' family has been set up via the website gofundme.com . More than $33,000 has been raised.

Additionally, website administrator Dawn Murray says that a cemetery plot was donated, but funds were still being sought for burial services. Donations can be made at the Evans family fund at http://www.gofundme.com/3ac52k .

A fundraising cookout is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Hartwell Kroger, 8241 Vine St. Donations and proceeds from the sale of hot dogs, soda and water will go to the Evans' family fund.

 
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