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YOUNGSTOWN Judge finds man guilty of murder in '98 shooting



Published: Wed, July 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By D.A. WILKINSON

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- When Ada Hill was shot and killed, Pernell Harrison asked Youngstown Police Sgt. Ismael Caraballo, "How much time will I get?"

Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge James C. Evans provided the answer Tuesday.

Harrison, 40, of Oak Street, must serve a mandatory three-year prison term for using a gun in a felony before serving a mandatory 15-year-to-life sentence for murder.

Judge Evans found Harrison guilty of murder Monday in the death of Hill, 36, on Nov. 7, 1998.

Testimony indicated that Harrison was angry when company came to his house and was suspicious about one of the men. The man, Charles Lightner, testified that Harrison accused him of being disrespectful by whispering to Hill and said he would "take care of" Hill as soon as the company left.

A few minutes later, Hill was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in the basement of the home she shared with Harrison.

Rose Hill, Ada's mother, spoke in court before the sentencing and described how her daughter often came to her home after being beaten.

Rose Hill quoted her daughter as saying, "Mother, Pernell is going to kill me."

Previous fight

According to Judge Evans' ruling in the case, Harrison had shot at Ada Hill during a fight in the early 1990s, although Harrison swore he fired into the ground.

Ada Hill was a security guard at Youngstown City Hall but planned to move to Columbus in search of a job.

"All Ada wanted was a good life. Her life was snatched away at a young age," Rose Hill said.

Rose Hill noted that she's been to the doctor for treatment since the killing, adding, "This has really been a tear on me."

She told the judge she has custody of one of Ada's children who often wants her mother. Still, Rose Hill said she didn't want trouble between her family and Harrison's.

Harrison told the Hill family he was sorry and asked that they forgive him. One man seated in the spectators' seats said he already had.

Says it was accidental

Before his sentencing, Harrison told Judge Evans that he respected the decision finding him guilty of murder but added, "What happened was an accident. It was an unfortunate accident."

Harrison said the gun fell on the floor and went off when he picked it up.

The judge's decision in the case noted that Harrison had also told police the gun went off when it was dropped, and that it went off while he was cleaning it.

Judge Evans told Harrison that although the gun was junk but worked, Harrison's brain wasn't junk, but it didn't work.

wilkinson@vindy.com




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