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MAHONING COUNTY Shooter gets 5-year term



Published: Wed, July 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The victim was shot three times but survived.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 20-year-old Campbell man will spend the next five years in prison for shooting another Campbell man during a fight two years ago.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Hiram L. Stores of Gordon Avenue to four years for felonious assault and one year for a firearm specification. By law, the terms must run consecutively.

Stores pleaded guilty to the charges in May.

Authorities said Stores and Earl Van Cobb, 45, of Madison Street, Campbell, were among a group of people talking and drinking on Monroe Street in Campbell in August 2000.

An argument broke out between the two, and Van Cobb began pushing Stores, said Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Pochiro.

Upset at being disrespected in front of the others, Stores went to his car, got a handgun and walked back toward Van Cobb, authorities said.

Original story

Stores originally told police he fired once and hit Van Cobb as he approached him, after which Van Cobb grabbed the gun and the two fought over it. The gun fired two more times, with both shots hitting Van Cobb during the struggle.

In court Tuesday for sentencing, Stores denied firing the first shot, saying all three shots were fired during the struggle.

Defense attorney Joseph Rafidi said that could have given his client a self-defense argument had the case gone to trial, but Judge Krichbaum disagreed.

The judge said there's no self-defense because Stores walked away from the original fight and came back with a gun.

Pochiro also discounted Stores' courtroom version of what happened.

"There was no self-defense," Pochiro said. "He was the aggressor."

In August 2001, a psychological evaluation showed that Stores was not mentally competent to stand trial because he didn't understand the nature of the charges or proceedings against him.

He was placed into a psychiatric treatment program and was restored to competency in April 2002.

bjackson@vindy.com




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