YOUNGSTOWN Jury finds Shawn Greene guilty of murder
The South Sider will be sentenced Thursday to 18 years to life in prison.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- It took a jury two hours to decide that Shawn Greene shot Daniel Wilkerson in cold blood, rejecting Greene's argument that he pulled the trigger out of fear for his own life.
Greene, 30, of West Warren Avenue, was found guilty of murder and a firearm specification late Monday afternoon. He will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Thursday by Judge Maureen A. Cronin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Greene, wearing a white shirt and dark pants, lightly scratched his left arm as Judge Cronin read the verdicts. He showed no other reaction.
He faces a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life in prison for murder and another mandatory three years for using a gun.
Judge Cronin was going to sentence him immediately after the verdict, but she held off so members of the victim's family can attend and address her first.
Wilkerson's mother, Dorothy Wilkerson of Youngstown, wept after the verdict was read, but she declined to comment.
Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Johns said she's pleased with the verdict but declined to comment further. Defense attorney Ronald Yarwood also declined to comment.
Greene admitted during the trial that he shot Wilkerson in the abdomen April 25, 1999. Wilkerson died the next day, on his 24th birthday.
Defense attorneys Yarwood and James Gentile said it was self-defense, something Yarwood focused on again during his closing arguments. He said Greene, who was holding a .22-caliber handgun, thought he saw Wilkerson reach toward his waistband as if to pull a gun.
"You can't be the slow draw in a gunfight," Yarwood said, explaining why Greene pulled the trigger.
He portrayed Wilkerson as a violent man who was "high and looking for a fight" when he walked into the West Ravenwood Avenue house Greene shared at the time with his girlfriend, Shawndea Bell.
Bell was Wilkerson's former girlfriend and the mother of his six children, ages 1 through 6.
Greene testified last week that Wilkerson had threatened many times to rob him or kill him, and he believed that's what was going to happen that day.
But in her closing argument, Johns said there's no proof that Greene was in any danger. In fact, she said, Bell was leading Wilkerson out of the house when Greene shot him in the left side.
That's consistent with testimony from Bell and Dr. Jesse Giles, former Mahoning County deputy coroner.
"This wasn't self-defense, it was murder," Johns said.