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YOUNGSTOWN In court, victim defends man who beat, raped her



Published: Wed, September 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Prosecutors said the victim would not cooperate in building a case against the Magnolia Avenue man.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Two women offered starkly different opinions of Shajehan Haywood as he stood in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

One, who said she's Haywood's companion of 10 years and the mother of his two sons, said he's a good man who needs help overcoming drug and alcohol addiction.

She still cares about Haywood, although she admitted he abused her during a four-hour drive through Youngstown's East and South sides in March.

"He's not as bad as he seems," she said Tuesday. "He just needs a little help."

The other woman, wearing a judge's black robe and glaring down from her courtroom bench, felt nothing but contempt for the 30-year-old Magnolia Avenue man, who pleaded guilty in July to rape and felonious assault and was in court for sentencing.

"You have pretty bad taste in men, don't you think?" Judge Maureen A. Cronin said to the 33-year-old Bennington Avenue woman. "He treated you like an animal."

Moments later, the judge had some choice words for Haywood, who is known as Shawn.

"You're a pig and you know it," she said.

As part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor's office, Haywood was sentenced to four years in prison for each charge. The sentences will be served at the same time.

Here's the problem

Judge Cronin wasn't pleased with the deal, but Deena Calabrese, an assistant county prosecutor, said she had little choice because the victim would not cooperate in helping build a case against Haywood.

Without the victim's testimony, it would be difficult to gain a conviction at trial, she said.

The girlfriend told police in March that she and Haywood had a fight before they got into her vehicle. She said he beat her repeatedly with his fists and once with a cane during the drive.

He stopped twice at his father's house to rape her, and once at a drive-through store, where he forced her to perform a sexual act.

Defense attorney Albert Palombaro admitted that the beating was severe. He'd seen photographs police took of the victim that night.

"They were bad," he said.

Still, he said such an event is not likely to happen again.

Haywood said he'd become enraged with jealousy after finding a telephone number in the woman's handwriting. He believed it was another man's phone number. His jealousy was fueled by drugs and alcohol, he said.

"That sounds like a 12-year-old's excuse," the judge said.

bjackson@vindy.com




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