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YOUNGSTOWN Man labeled sexual predator



Published: Thu, June 7, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defense argued that there wasn't enough evidence to support the label.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A man imprisoned nearly 25 years for a 1977 kidnapping and murder has been labeled a sexual predator.

James E. Brown of Braeden Street is serving a life sentence for aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft and rape in the death of Joseph DeLisio.

The rape charge is what led prosecutors to seek the sexual predator label.

Under Ohio law, a sexual predator is anyone convicted of a sexually oriented offense who is likely to do it again in the future.

Sexual predators are required to register with the sheriff's department in the county where they live and school officials must be notified of their presence.

A hearing must be conducted for people convicted before the predator law went into effect in 1996.

Brown's hearing was in April and the judge's ruling was handed down Wednesday.

According to court records and Vindicator files, Brown, who was 16 at the time, was among a group of five youths who happened upon DeLisio sleeping in the back seat of his car June 16, 1977.

They robbed him of 85 cents, stuffed him into the trunk of the car and drove him to Stambaugh Field on the city's South Side, where he was beaten, strangled with his own belt and stabbed several times.

According to court records, Brown jumped up and down on DeLisio's chest to make blood flow faster through the wounds.

During the assault, Brown forced DeLisio to perform a sex act on him, resulting in the rape charge.

Defense attorney Louis M. DeFabio argued that prosecutors failed to present clear and convincing evidence that Brown is likely to commit another sexually oriented act.

He said Brown's record before the murder does not include any sexually oriented offenses, and he hasn't committed any since being locked up. The state did not produce an expert witness to testify of Brown's probability of repeating a sexual crime.

Reasoning: Judge Krichbaum agreed expert testimony was lacking, but ruled there was enough other evidence to support the predator label, including the fact that Brown inflicted cruelty on the victim during the offense and that, even though Brown did not personally supply it, DeLisio was under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Police said DeLisio was intoxicated when the youths found him and kidnapped him. Under the law, the use of cruelty and alcohol are factors in determining whether a sexual predator label should be attached.

"The defendant's conduct falls into the category of what the public needs to be protected against," the judge said in his opinion.

bjackson@vindy.com




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