Friday, June 15, 2001
The Early Road man shot another man Jan. 16, 2000.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Jamal Shakoor will be sentenced Monday after a jury found him guilty of killing his romantic rival.
The emotionally charged case of a love triangle gone sour ended when the six-man, six-woman jury deliberated about two hours Thursday before turning the verdict against Shakoor, 20, of Early Road, who was charged with murder.
Shakoor faces a penalty of 15 years to life in prison, plus a mandatory three years for a firearm specification. He will be sentenced by Judge James C. Evans.
Defense lawyer James Gentile said he was disappointed at the outcome and will appeal the verdict.
Difficult case: Some jurors cried in the hallway after the verdict was announced. All of them left the building immediately.
Assistant Prosecutor Jay Macejko said the emotional factor made it a tough case for the state.
"The bottom line is that some of those jurors could probably identify with these people," Macejko said. "This wasn't a gang shooting. This wasn't a drug war. It was something they could relate to."
When jurors can identify with a defendant, it's tough to get a conviction, he said.
Macejko said he is pleased with the verdict and he hopes it brings some peace to the family of victim Benjamin Reeves, 31, of Bennington Avenue.
Prosecutors said Shakoor shot Reeves in the parking lot of Ursuline High School on Jan. 16, 2000. Reeves took Tori Griffin there to retrieve her car, which had broken down earlier, and Shakoor followed them.
Many secrets: Shakoor had dated Griffin when they were in high school. They broke up in 1998, but remained friends and lovers, she said during the trial. When she started dating Reeves in 1999, she hid the relationship from Shakoor.
She also did not tell Reeves about her continuing relationship with Shakoor.
Just as he did throughout the three-day trial, Shakoor showed no emotion when the verdict was announced.
"No remorse," said Assistant Prosecutor Michael Maillis. "He still doesn't care that he did this."
William Farmer of Youngstown, a close friend of Reeves, said the verdict means justice for Reeves' family. Reeves was not a violent person and did nothing to deserve being shot, he said.
"He just went up there that night to try and help her with the car, and as a result he lost his life," Farmer said. "He got brutally murdered."