Saturday, January 4, 2003
The St. Louis Avenue man said he's trying to change his life for the better.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Eddie Jackson, who pleaded guilty to helping torch a car, stood before a judge Friday and said he now has a burning desire to do good.
"I'm doing no wrong," the 23-year-old St. Louis Avenue man said. "I'm just going to follow the Lord's way."
Judge Robert Lisotto of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court said he'd give Jackson a break, placing him on probation for three years instead of sending him to prison.
"But if you fail, I will send you to prison," the judge said.
Robert Andrews, assistant prosecutor, said Jackson helped 23-year-old Delano E. Perel, also of St. Louis Avenue, set fire to a car owned by Nicole Rhodes in January 2001. Both were charged with arson.
Andrews said the matter stemmed from a domestic dispute between Rhodes and Perel.
Perel was scheduled for trial in July but didn't show up. Judge Maureen A. Cronin issued a warrant for his arrest. According to court records, he has yet to be located.
While he was out of jail on bond awaiting trial for the arson charge, Jackson was arrested by Youngstown police in November 2001 for failure to obey a police order.
Andrews said Jackson refused to stop for police, but defense attorney Charles Curry said it was because Jackson was being chased by a group of people with guns. He did not say why Jackson was being chased.
Jackson pleaded guilty in September 2002 to failure to comply with a police order and a reduced charge of attempted arson. He could have been sentenced to up to 30 months in prison.
Jackson told Judge Lisotto that he's turned his back on people who had a bad influence on him and is trying to turn his life around.
He goes to church regularly, reports to a temporary employment agency every day -- working when they have a job for him -- and has met a "real woman" who's carrying his baby.
"I've been trying to change my life for the better," he told Judge Lisotto. "That [criminal] part of my life is dead."