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YOUNGSTOWN Witnesses identified in 21-year-old killing



Published: Fri, July 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The state intends to use lie-detector test results at the trial.

By JoANNE VIVIANO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Prosecutors have revealed the identities of witnesses they'll call during the trial of a man suspected of a 21-year-old mob-related killing.

Samuel Fossesca, 61, is charged with aggravated murder and murder in the April 1981 killing of 32-year-old Joseph DeRose Jr. He was indicted in February.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains has said it was an organized-crime killing. DeRose's body was never found.

Documents filed this week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court show the evidence and witnesses prosecutors intend to use at Fossesca's trial.

Gains, in February, said authorities got a break in the case while investigating a large theft ring that operated in Mahoning County in the late 1990s. People indicted or implicated in that operation named Fossesca as DeRose's killer in exchange for being allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges. Gains would not say who fingered Fossesca.

The witnesses

The court filings name Lou Fossesca, Edward Farris and Charles Treharn as witnesses.

From Lou Fossesca, prosecutors say they will use two interviews from 1999, a lie-detector test report, agreements and his criminal history.

Vindicator records show that a Louis Fossesca of Youngstown was indicted in 1999 on several theft charges in a ring that operated in northeast Ohio for six years. He would likely be about 61.

Samuel Fossesca is imprisoned in Kentucky for participating in a theft ring there.

From Farris, prosecutors say they intend to use three interviews from 1997, 1998 and 1999, a lie-detector test report and his criminal history.

Vindicator records show an Edward Farris of Struthers with a long criminal history, including arson, extortion and firearms convictions.

He was acquitted of the 1982 bank robbery of Home Savings and Loan in Struthers and was once videotaped talking of murder, arson and extortion and implicating Struthers police officers in helping with the robbery.

In 1996, he was sentenced to a 10-year federal sentence for the arson. He would likely be about 51 years old.

From Treharn, prosecutors say they intend to use six interviews from 1990, 1991, 1998, 2000 and 2001, his plea agreement and his criminal history.

Cocaine distribution

Vindicator records show a Charles Treharn, with former addresses in Boardman and Struthers, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court for his role in a cocaine distribution ring. He also has a burglary conviction. He would likely be about 49 now.

Prosecutors also say they have a lie-detector test report on Samuel Fossesca, which lawyers agree to use in court. Such test results are not permitted in court unless attorneys agree to it and a judge allows it.

Also from Samuel Fossesca, the state intends to use agreements and statements from 1990, 1992 and 1999.

According to Vindicator files, DeRose was a rival of Youngstown mobster Joseph Naples, known as Little Joey.

DeRose was previously identified in affidavits filed by federal agents in other cases as the man suspected of killing Charles Grisham in 1978 and James Cononico in 1979.

Grisham and Cononico, the affidavits say, were allies of Naples in a battle for control of the Mahoning Valley.

DeRose disappeared in April 1981. A girlfriend's burned-out car was found along a rural road in Summit County. Authorities believe he was killed in Canfield.

Gains has said the DeRose killing will be the first in a string of old slayings to be solved.




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