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WARREN Defense says truth is near



Published: Thu, August 2, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A teen-age defendant was accidentally shot during an aggravated robbery.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A defense attorney representing an 18-year-old accused of aggravated robbery says jurors will soon hear the "other side of the story."

Atty. Michael Scala, who represents Lamar Mitchell of Warren, who was 17 when the robbery of RBG Music at 1958 Palmyra Road S.W. took place, told jurors during opening statements Wednesday that the store owner did not tell authorities the whole truth.

Scala did not elaborate.

Mitchell said during previous court hearings that he was set up and that several men threatened to harm his daughter if he didn't rob the store.

Sean O'Brien, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said Mitchell entered the store by himself.

Trial: Mitchell's case is being tried before Judge Andrew Logan. A juvenile court judge granted a prosecutor's request in February to have Mitchell tried as an adult. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

The trial began Monday with jury selection.

City police say Mitchell tried to rob RBG Music on Dec. 20.

The store owner, James "Doc" Pugh, 54, then head of the local NAACP, shot Mitchell in the buttocks.

Police Chief John Mandopoulos said Pugh "acted appropriately." Pugh has not been charged.

Testimony: Pugh has testified in previous court hearings that Mitchell entered his store and asked him for a tape. After getting Mitchell the tape, Mitchell placed a gun against his head.

Pugh said there was another customer in the store who saw the gun and ran away.

Pugh has testified that he tried to wrestle with Mitchell but fell to the ground. Pugh said that after he fell he told Mitchell he would get him the money, and he went behind the counter to get the cash but instead got his gun.

The store owner said Mitchell attempted to run but he caught him and ordered him to stay still while he called police.

Pugh said he told Mitchell to pull his pants down around his boots so that Mitchell would not be able to run while Pugh went to get the phone.

Pugh said he was helping Mitchell get his pants down when the gun went off.

After Mitchell was shot, Pugh called the police and an ambulance. Mitchell was not seriously injured.




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