YOUNGSTOWN Man agrees to testify against co-defendant
The Willis Avenue man pleaded guilty to one count of complicity to kidnapping.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A man accused of helping to kidnap a New York truck driver, who was tortured and eventually killed, struck a deal Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Chancy Walker, 21, of Willis Avenue pleaded guilty to one count of complicity to kidnapping, a charge for which he was secretly indicted by a grand jury in March.
In exchange, prosecutors will recommend that Walker get five years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge James C. Evans. Under Ohio law, Walker could be sentenced to up to 10 years.
Assistant Prosecutor Jay Macejko said sentencing will be held off, though, until after disposition of a case against Lance Lynch, who is charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping. Lynch also was indicted in March.
As part of his plea agreement, Walker will be required to cooperate with authorities in the case against Lynch. That will include testifying against Lynch during his trial, which is scheduled for September, said defense attorney Gary Van Brocklin.
Lynch, 23, of Chicago Avenue, could face the death penalty if he's convicted in the Nov. 13, 2001, killing of 39-year-old Robert Mahar of New York. City litter patrol workers found Mahar's body on Atkinson Avenue with duct tape on his hands and mouth.
Authorities said Mahar was a truck driver who bought drugs from Lynch when he passed through Youngstown, and that he owed Lynch $600 for drugs.
Prosecutors have said Lynch took Mahar to his home, bound him with duct tape, tied him to a pole and tortured him. Mahar eventually broke loose and escaped but was caught and shot by Lynch, prosecutors said. His body was taken to Atkinson and dumped.
Van Brocklin said Walker came into the house after Mahar was already tied to the pole and being tortured. He was present when Mahar was killed but didn't have a hand in it, Van Brocklin said.
"There is no evidence at all that [Walker] in any way harmed this victim," Van Brocklin said.