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WARREN Lawyers want statement to be thrown out



Published: Thu, April 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant said the victim shot him first.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A man who police say shot the husband of his lover has described fighting with the victim over a weapon.

Nathaniel Jackson told detectives Jeff Hoolihan of Warren and Paul Monroe of Howland in a videotaped statement that he and Robert Fingerhut were arguing at Fingerhut's Fonderlac Street S.E. home in Howland when Fingerhut pulled a gun.

"He got the gun pointed at me, know what I'm saying, so I reached up, I go to grab, I'm trying, you know, hold it back away from me, man, you know," Jackson said during the 55-minute interview.

He said he and Fingerhut began fighting and the gun went off, wounding him in the finger. He said the two continued to fight and Fingerhut was shot.

When asked how many times he shot Fingerhut, Jackson said, "Man, I didn't, man, I just heard the gun go off, you know what I'm saying, like, two times, man, the thing went off."

Jackson said Fingerhut was breathing heavily and he left.

Jackson's statement was played Wednesday in the Trumbull County Common Pleas courtroom of Judge John Stuard. Attys. James Lewis and Anthony Consoldane are asking the judge to prohibit the prosecutor from using the statement in Jackson's upcoming trial.

Consoldane said he believes Jackson's constitutional rights were violated because he asked for an attorney and was not able to talk to one before the interview.

Judge Stuard is expected to rule on the request in a few days.

Jackson, 29, of South Pearl Street, Youngstown, and Donna Roberts, 57, Fingerhut's common-law wife, are facing aggravated-murder charges.

According to an 11-page affidavit, Roberts and Jackson planned for several months to kill Fingerhut, 57.

What's in letters

Police said they found hundreds of handwritten letters Roberts and Jackson wrote to each other. The letters, found in Roberts home and car, show Roberts and Jackson were lovers more than two years.

"These letters also established that they were plotting to murder Robert Fingerhut," according to the affidavit.

Jackson denies planning anything with Roberts. He refers to her as a nice lady who helps people.

Jackson said Fingerhut picked him up in Youngstown around 9 p.m. Dec. 11 and bought $100 worth of marijuana from him and then they drove to the house.

He said that once they got to the house, Fingerhut started arguing with him.

Jackson acknowledged calling Roberts after he left the house from her cellular phone that was in Fingerhut's car.

He said he didn't tell Roberts what happened but he met her somewhere in Youngstown. He said she got a room for him at a local hotel and she bought him bandages to fix his finger.

Trumbull County 911 records show that Roberts called 911 around 12:25 a.m. Dec. 12 to say she found her husband dead.

Fingerhut was shot at least three times, including once in the back of the head, according to the affidavit.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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