Plea in rape charges
YOUNGSTOWN -- Chaz D. Bunch, 17, of Willis Avenue, pleaded innocent Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to three counts each of rape, aggravated robbery and complicity to rape; and single counts of kidnapping, conspiracy to aggravated robbery and aggravated menacing. His trial was set for Jan. 9. Bunch is a suspect in the Aug. 21 rape of a 21-year-old Boardman woman on a Youngstown street. He is being tried as an adult.
Slaying victim found
YOUNGSTOWN -- Workers on cleanup detail with the city's litter control department Tuesday afternoon found the body of an unidentified man who had been shot execution style. The victim was discovered about 1:30 p.m. on Atkinson Avenue with duct tape around his neck and wrists. The man, dressed in faded blue jeans, red T-shirt and black hooded sweatshirt, is the city's 28th homicide victim of the year and the fourth in two weeks. At this time last year, there were 25 homicides. As of this morning, the coroner had not made a positive identification of a man found shot to death Monday on the South Side.
Store worker robbed
YOUNGSTOWN -- Someone waited for an employee of the Dollar General Store in the Lincoln Knolls Plaza to leave the business with the store's bank-deposit bag Tuesday night, according to police. As the woman approached her car about 8:15 p.m., a man in his 20s wearing a black-hooded coat got out of a car that had been parked near hers with its engine running. She ran back to the McCartney Road store, pushing a co-worker aside and telling the woman to run. The robber caught up with the victim near the store's front door, demanded money and punched her several times in the head before knocking her down and grabbing the deposit bag and her purse.
Bank fraud indictments
CLEVELAND -- A federal grand jury has indicted two people on three counts of bank fraud involving three Youngstown banks. Indicted are Ali H. Alhamid, 47, of East Dewey Avenue, and Mahmoud Y. Aqrabawi, 48, who last lived on Ohio Avenue on the city's North Side but is believed to have returned to his native Jordan. The indictment charges they schemed to defraud the banks by opening accounts, depositing stolen U.S. Treasury checks, and then cashing checks or otherwise making withdrawals from the accounts. The accounts were opened by Aqrabawi at National City Bank, Key Bank and Bank One in November and December 1997. Alhamid used fraudulent checks to obtain $14,000 in furniture from a Boardman store, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The case was investigated by the FBI's Youngstown office.
CLEVELAND -- U.S. District Magistrate Judge William H. Baughman Jr. has recommended that U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. be permitted to continue representing himself without the assistance of a lawyer. Traficant, of Poland, D-17th, is not a lawyer but has opted to represent himself in February against federal bribery, racketeering and tax evasions charges. The magistrate, who arraigned Traficant on a superseding indictment Friday, made the recommendation to U.S. District Judge Leslie Brooks Wells after asking Traficant a series of questions.
America Recycles Day
YOUNGSTOWN -- A cleanup of Lincoln Avenue and an environmental display at Youngstown State University will be part of Thursday's America Recycles Day event. The university and Youngstown Litter Control & amp; Recycling office will have the display on the first floor of Kilcawley Center. The cleanup will be from 3 to 5 p.m.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown-based Help Hotline Crisis Center Inc. has received a two-year $150,000 grant from Anthem Foundation of Ohio to plan a tri-county family violence prevention project. Dorothy Miller, project coordinator, said Help Hotline is a lead agency that will bring together organizations from Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties to address ways to prevent abuse against domestic partners, children and the elderly. The project will get under way Friday, when representatives from more than 100 agencies will attend a kickoff event in Boardman. Anthem requires that by the end of two years, the group form a coalition and implement a plan.