The defendant told the judge he was not tried by his peers because only one black was on his jury.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A 30-year-old city man convicted of aggravated murder has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Judge Andrew Logan sentenced Shawn Lynell Armstrong Wednesday, moments after a jury convicted him of aggravated murder with a gun specification.
Armstrong, who has maintained his innocence, plans to appeal.
"This is not right," Armstrong told the judge. "I was not tried by my peers. There was only one African-American on the jury and she was probably intimidated by the white people."
Armstrong's aunt, Linda Armstrong, said after the sentencing that she believes her nephew was not involved in the crime.
"We will wait for the appeal and pray," she said.
Deliberations: Jurors deliberated 10 hours, eight hours Tuesday and two hours Wednesday before reaching a verdict.
Police say Armstrong, 30; Lance Pough, 28; and Art Bell, 31, all of Warren, planned to kill Bradrick McMillan, who was scheduled to testify against Pough in a drug case.
McMillan was shot in the head outside the Elks Club on Highland Avenue in Warren Township on Aug. 9, 1998.
Armstrong's trial began Sept. 17. He did not testify.
Pough and Bell both pleaded guilty to murder charges. Bell was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the murder charge and one year on a gun specification. Pough was sentenced to 15 years to life on the murder charge and three years on a gun specification.
Prosecutors said they do not know the identity of the shooter.
Former Youngstown cop: Prosecutors have said the gun used in the killings belonged to Andre Peterson, a former Youngstown police officer, who is one of Armstrong's friends. They said Armstrong was driving Peterson's car the night of the killing.
Peterson, who has not been charged, has told The Vindicator he had no involvement in the murder, that his gun had been stolen. He declined during an interview to say why Armstrong had his car.
Carlos Eggleston, former Youngstown police officer, whom prosecutors also implicated in connection with the murder during opening statements in the trial, said Armstrong was going to fix Peterson's car.
Eggleston, who has not been charged, has also told the newspaper he had no involvement in the murder.
Although prosecutors in the Armstrong case identified both Peterson and Eggleston as each playing a role in the conspiracy to kill McMillan, they refused to discuss why neither man has been charged.
Peterson, who resigned from the police department Feb. 12, 1999, to take a job in Columbus, said he was recuperating from knee surgery and was at his mother's home the night of the murder.
Lt. Don Bishop of the Warren Township Police Department plans to continue investigating the case. He said there may be more charges.