The defense attorney said her client feared the murder victim.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- An 18-year-old man who pleaded guilty to murder with a gun specification has been sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.
Judge Peter Kontos of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentenced Ben Green, no street address available, of Warren, moments after Green pleaded to the charge.
The judge sentenced Green to 15 years to life in prison on the murder charge and three years for using a firearm in the commission of the crime.
No comment: Green declined to comment before sentencing but his attorney, Maridee Costanzo, said Green is sorry for his actions.
City police said Green, who was 16 when the murder took place, shot and killed John T. Williamson, 18, of Highland Avenue S.W. around 1:30 p.m. Aug. 28, 2000, on Austin Avenue S.W.
Costanzo said that her client has a low IQ and feared Williamson.
"In my client's mind, he believed the only way he could survive was to do this," Costanzo said. "He really believed that if he didn't do this he would have been killed."
Sean O'Brien, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said that Green first shot Williamson in the leg and then walked over to the victim and asked him if he had a gun.
"When the victim told him he didn't have a gun, he shot him once in the back of the head," O'Brien said. He added that Green confessed.
"Sgt. Al Bansky and Detective Jeff Hoolihan did an outstanding job on this case," O'Brien said.
Hoolihan noted that Williamson and Green had been feuding for several months.
O'Brien noted that if Green would not have entered a plea, his case was scheduled to go to trial Tuesday.
Charge reduced: Green had been indicted on a charge of aggravated murder with a gun specification, but in exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors reduced the charge to murder.
Had Green been convicted of the charge of aggravated murder with a gun specification he could have faced 21 years to life in prison, O'Brien said.