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YOUNGSTOWN Judge calls witness a coward



Published: Fri, September 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Otis Street man will be back in court to take the witness stand Oct. 5.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- If Judge R. Scott Krichbaum had his way, Bryant McGauley might have worn a yellow jumpsuit to court Thursday instead of the bright orange one issued by the Mahoning County jail.

"You sir, are a coward," Judge Krichbaum, of common pleas court, said to McGauley. "You allowed justice to escape because you aren't man enough to come to court and tell a jury what happened. Truly, I have nothing but contempt for you."

McGauley, 19, of Otis Street, was subpoenaed by prosecutors to testify in the July murder trial of Frederick Easterly. The trial had to be postponed for seven weeks because McGauley and two other witnesses did not show up.

In contempt: McGauley was found in contempt of court earlier this week for ignoring the subpoena. Judge Krichbaum sentenced him to 30 days in the county jail Thursday, the maximum penalty under Ohio law. McGauley was given credit for eight days he'd already served.

A second subpoenaed witness, Charles Scott, escaped punishment because prosecutors did not prove he received the subpoena. The third man, 21-year-old Terrell McDowell of Otis Street, has not been found.

Scott was the only one located in time to testify during the trial, after which Easterly was acquitted.

Defense attorney Louis DeFabio said McGauley skipped his court appearance because he feared for his life. He said McGauley had received death threats about showing up to testify.

Judge Krichbaum said that during a hearing Oct. 5, he will make McGauley testify about what he saw when 19-year-old Bert King was shot and killed in October 2000.

Testimony hearing: The judge intended to have McGauley testify before he sentenced him for contempt, but he was unable to immediately schedule a hearing for that. He has back-to-back murder trials in his courtroom, starting this week, and would not have been able to schedule McGauley's testimony hearing for several weeks.

He said it would not be fair to make McGauley wait in jail that long for a sentencing hearing.

McGauley does not intend to testify and will probably invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, DeFabio said.

bjackson@vindy.com




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