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TRUMBULL COUNTY Attorney requests hearing



Published: Tue, June 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The request has postponed the aggravated-murder trial, court officials said.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Attorneys want psychologists to determine whether a 17-year-old boy accused of murder is able to aid in his defense.

Atty. Maridee Costanzo, who represents Ben Green, says she is asking Judge Peter Kontos of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for the competency hearing partly because of her client's age.

"We have some concerns because this is a young man being charged as an adult," Costanzo said. "We want to know his level of ability and if he understands exactly what is taking place."

Green, who is in the county jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond, is facing a charge of aggravated murder. If convicted he could face 20 years to life in prison. He is not eligible for the death penalty because he was a juvenile when the crime took place, officials said.

What was determined: Court officials noted that a psychologist hired by the court already determined that Green is able to understand the charges and help his lawyers.

Constanzo said that due to the seriousness of the charges she would like a "second opinion."

Judge Kontos is expected to decide the issue next week.

The request for the competency hearing will postpone Green's trial, which was scheduled to begin June 25.

About the case: City police say Green shot and killed John T. Williamson, 18, of Highland Avenue Southwest in August. The shooting took place on Austin Avenue Southwest.

Police declined to give a motive but said there had been an ongoing feud between the two.

"I believe this was self-defense, and I believe that is what the evidence will say," Costanzo said.

She added that Green was arrested moments after the shooting and that police declined to let him speak to an attorney or his parents before questioning him.




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