YOUNGSTOWN Prosecutors reach deal in 1992 shooting case
Many witnesses to the shooting have left the area and their whereabouts are unknown to authorities.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A nine-year time lag and shortage of witnesses led prosecutors to make a deal with a Michigan man in a murder case.
Talawrence Wright of Detroit pleaded guilty Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter, reduced from the original charge of murder.
He faces a sentence of two to 10 years in prison, but Judge Jack Durkin delayed sentencing until after a background check. He allowed Wright, 28, to return to Detroit until then.
Sentence recommendation: Terry Grenga, assistant prosecutor, said she'll probably recommend a sentence of three years. A slew of factors, especially that the case is so old, contributed to the decision to reduce the charge, Grenga said.
Because the shooting happened so long ago, many of the witnesses have left the area and authorities don't know their whereabouts, she said.
Defense lawyer Louis DeFabio was pleased with the deal because of the significant reduction in prison time Wright faces. A murder charge carried a penalty of 15 years to life in prison.
Firearm dismissed: A firearm specification would have added a mandatory three years to any sentence imposed for a murder conviction, but was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Authorities said Wright, who was 19 at the time, killed 19-year-old Sanika Trevathan of Whitman Lane in February 1992. Trevathan was shot 18 times at close range in the living room of an Oak Lane house on the city's East Side.
Grenga said that there was an altercation between the two men and that some witnesses alleged Trevathan provoked Wright to shoot him.
The case took so long to get to court because authorities were unable to locate Wright, who had gone to Michigan. He was found and indicted last year.
The trial was then delayed several times because of the difficulty in locating witnesses.