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TRUMBULL COUNTY Driver who killed pedestrian seeks early prison release



Published: Fri, February 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge said the defendant is eligible for release.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A 22-year-old Howland Township man should know in about 10 days if he'll be released early from prison.

Judge John Stuard of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court said Thursday that John Neilan is eligible for judicial release.

Neilan, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of Fred W. Wilkerson in 1998, was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence Oct. 7, 1999.

Prosecutors said Neilan should have to serve at least four years. Prosecutors declined to say if they would appeal early release.

Atty. Michael Scala, who represents Neilan, said his client has behaved well in prison, completed several rehabilitation programs and is a good candidate for early release.

Prosecutors say the public would be best served if Neilan remains behind bars for five years.

What happened: The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Neilan was driving a sport utility vehicle that struck and killed Wilkerson, who had gone out to get the mail at his Stillwagon Road home Dec. 22, 1998.

Neilan, who was delivering food for a local restaurant at the time of the crash, fled the scene, police said.

Prosecutors noted in their motion opposing early release that Neilan left Wilkerson "in pieces scattered throughout the roadway only to nonchalantly return to a party."

Neilan surrendered the next day.




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