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YOUNGSTOWN Sentence locks up killers for 33 years

By Bob Jackson

Friday, February 14, 2003

The judge called the homicide one of the dumbest she's ever heard about.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Just as they did throughout their trials, William Vaughn and Freddie Lewis sat silently through their sentencing for killing Justin Treasic.
Lawyers for both men, who were convicted in separate trials, said they will appeal, which is why they made no comment before Judge Maureen A. Cronin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Vaughn and Lewis each to 33 years to life in prison.
"This is one of the dumbest homicides I've heard in a long time," Judge Cronin told them Tuesday, noting that Treasic was killed for marijuana. "If you had thought for one second about what you were doing, we wouldn't be here."
Treasic, 21, was shot in the head during a drug deal on the city's North Side in February 2002. Witnesses said he'd gone to sell marijuana to Lewis, whom he'd met at a gas station a month earlier.
Instead, Lewis and Vaughn shot and robbed him, leaving him for dead in a vacant field. Treasic died the next day.
Kelly Johns, assistant prosecutor, said it was an "execution-style" killing.
Victim's family
Treasic was a biology student at Youngstown State University who wanted to one day become a doctor and help people, said his father, Kenneth Treasic.
"Isn't it ironic that in his death, he has helped more people than we will ever know," Treasic said, noting that his son was a multiple organ donor.
In an impassioned statement before the sentencing, Treasic faced Lewis and Vaughn, calling them "vermin" and "pure evil."
"When you go to sleep at night, I hope Justin's face is the last thing you see and I hope it haunts you until the day you die," Treasic said.
Justin's mother, Jane Treasic, remembered her son as pleasant and helpful, telling Judge Cronin how he'd surprised her with a dozen roses a month before he was killed.
Mrs. Treasic also expressed sympathy to the families of Vaughn and Lewis.
"Unfortunately, our children made some very bad choices, and for that I am very sorry," she said.
Judge Cronin called Lewis, who had arranged the drug buy, a "conduit to death" for Treasic, and said Vaughn was an assassin.
Vaughn, 22, of Berwick Avenue, was convicted last week of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.
Lewis, 20, of Tacoma Avenue, was convicted a week earlier of complicity to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.
Judge Cronin sentenced both men to 20 years to life in prison for the aggravated murder, 10 years for aggravated robbery and a mandatory three years for using a gun.
Defense attorneys Louis DeFabio and Ronald Yarwood asked that the sentences run concurrently, but Judge Cronin ordered them served consecutively.