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YOUNGSTOWN Man declared dead sues, killing plea deal



Published: Thu, May 10, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The case will probably go to trial sometime this summer.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Addie Crawley planned to plead guilty Wednesday to shooting her ex-husband, but she stopped short because of a civil lawsuit he has filed against her.

Crawley, 50, of Lockwood Boulevard, Boardman, faces a charge of aggravated assault. She has admitted shooting 50-year-old Benjamin R. Holmes of Fairmont Avenue at her home in October 2000.

Plea bargain: At a hearing Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, Crawley was to plead guilty as part of a plea agreement. In exchange for the plea, the prosecutor's office had agreed to dismiss a firearm specification, which carries a mandatory three-year prison term.

Crawley's lawyer, James Gentile, said the plea was scuttled because of a civil suit Holmes filed against Crawley last week in common pleas court, seeking unspecified damages for the gunshot wounds.

Gentile said he learned of the suit shortly before Wednesday's hearing and asked Judge James C. Evans for more time to look into the matter before deciding whether to go ahead with the plea.

If a guilty plea would adversely affect Crawley in the civil suit, they may opt to take the case to trial, Gentile said.

Assistant Prosecutor Jay Macejko said that "absent some extraordinary circumstances," the case will go to trial this summer.

Was declared dead: Police said that Holmes had disappeared from the area some 20 years ago and that Crawley had him declared legally dead 12 years ago. She has since remarried.

Holmes resurfaced late last year and made a series of threats against Crawley, resulting in her shooting him while he was asleep in a bed in her house, police said.

Gentile has said the shooting was justifiable because it was in self-defense.

His side: Holmes, though, said he was back in the area and had been living with Crawley for three years before the shooting. He said she shot him to cover up a relationship with another man, to whom she is now married.

Holmes was in the courtroom for Wednesday's hearing and said afterward that he was not in favor of the plea agreement.

bjackson@vindy.com




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