Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On eve of Cleveland debate, Lake County murder plays into Donald Trump's immigration attack

Ohio has never been ground zero in the debate over immigration.

But when a Republican presidential field led by Donald Trump arrives here next week for its first debate, a case in neighboring Lake County could be a major flashpoint.

Officials say Juan Emmanuel Razo, 35, shot and killed Margaret Kostelnik in her Concord Township home Monday and attempted to rape a 14-year-old girl at nearby Helen Wyman Park. Razo also is accused of attempted murder related to the shooting of another woman.

During a traffic stop less than three weeks earlier, sheriff's deputies learned that Razo was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, a detective said at a Tuesday court hearing. Details of why Razo was stopped aren't clear. Razo was not arrested then. He has lived in the country for five years and had no criminal history locally.

Regardless, the scenario presents a told-you-so moment for the most vocal critics of President Barack Obama and U.S. immigration policy. And it feeds a broad-brush notion – perpetuated by Trump from the moment he stormed into the race last month – that undocumented immigrants are a threat not only to the economy but also to public safety.

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