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Alleged cab driver killers in court

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- This afternoon there was a memorial service at a local mosque for Mamadou (Moustafa) Diop.

The well-respected cab driver was murdered behind the wheel of his taxi early Wednesday morning on Baltimore Avenue in North Fairmount.  Friday the two young men charged in his murder and robbery made their first appearance in court.

This is going to be an ugly, emotional and vicious case.  Right now both suspects are locked up with bond set at more than a million dollars, so they won't be going anywhere.  Friday though, I talked with family members who say as you might imagine, they can't believe these guys are guilty.

Keyawhan Lowe is just 20-years-old.  Walking into court Friday facing murder and aggravated robbery charges, he's still on community control after pleading guilty last year to aggravated robbery.  When police showed up to arrest him Thursday morning he was with his girlfriend, Mariah Jones.

She told us, "I was sad because I know I probably won't get to see him again.  My kids really adored him, adore Keyawhan so, and my daughter my oldest she's two and she keeps asking about him like where's Lo Lo? I don't really know what to say to her."

Jones is the sister of Keyawhan Lowe's alleged partner in crime, Dakeith Pleasant.  He too is charged with aggravated robbery and murder, also held on a 1.1 million dollar bond.  While Pleasant has been convicted of robbery before, he was arrested in 2012 after leading police on a car chase and sentenced to 18 months behind bars for failure to comply with an order from a police officer.  Just released from jail in January of 2013, he was on parole for that sentence as he walked into court Friday.
His mother carol austin says she's stunned with the allegations that her son's a killer.

"Dakeith is a sweet person. Loves his kids, loves his family.  He's considerate, gentle, loving..."

But police paint a different picture saying that Lowe and Pleasant are pure predators who targeted a hard working immigrant from Senegal.  A man who was struggling to make a living so he could provide a college education for his three children and open his own business.  They say Lowe and Pleasant set a trap for Moustafa Diop, robbed him, and shot him twice in the head when they could have simply walked away after the robbery.

Last year Dakeith Pleasant wrote a letter to Judge Norbert Nadel asking for an early release.  In the letter obtained by Local 12, he asked the judge for a "second chance to correct" himself.  He said he wanted a chance to prove to himself, his son and the judge that he had changed for the better.

Guess we'll have to see about that one.

A Hamilton County Grand Jury's expected to hear the murder and robbery case against Lowe and Pleasant on March 24th.

Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffe and LIKE him on Facebook

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