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YOUNGSTOWN Lack of witnesses, pending appeals stall murder trial



Published: Tue, July 24, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The prosecutor and defense attorney each have appeals pending in the case.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A murder trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court has stalled because prosecutors ran out of witnesses.

Assistant Prosecutor Patrick R. Pochiro said he needs more time and wants a mistrial to be declared so the trial can be rescheduled.

Frederick Easterly's attorney said the Gypsy Lane man should be set free because the state has failed to prove a case against him. The trial is on hold while the 7th District Court of Appeals sorts it all out.

The charges: Easterly, 19, is charged with murder in the Oct. 1, 2000, shooting death of Bert King, 19, of Lora Avenue, who was shot twice while outside a house on Elm Street.

A trial began last week in the courtroom of Judge R. Scott Krichbaum. A jury was picked and heard testimony from five witnesses, mostly police officers.

When it came time for jurors to hear from eyewitnesses, Pochiro could go no further because the witnesses he'd subpoenaed didn't show up.

Judge Krichbaum delayed the trial for two days while authorities hunted for the witnesses. When they still could not be located, Pochiro requested that a mistrial be declared.

Double jeopardy: The request was denied because Judge Krichbaum said it could prevent Easterly from being tried later if the witnesses are located. Ohio law does not allow people to be tried twice for the same crime.

Pochiro does not believe double-jeopardy would come into play and has asked the appellate court to overrule Judge Krichbaum and grant the mistrial. He believes Easterly could be tried again if a mistrial is declared this time.

Judge Krichbaum also denied a request from Atty. J. Gerald Ingram to reduce Easterly's bail from $200,000 to $25,000. Easterly has been held in the county jail since his arrest last year because he is unable to post the higher bond, according to court documents.

But the judge said a lower bond is not in order because of the serious nature of the charge and because there are eyewitnesses who have previously identified Easterly as the shooter.

Ingram also has taken his case to the court of appeals, asking that it order Easterly's release from jail. That decision also is pending.

bjackson@vindy.com




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