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KIMBLE CASE Suspect pleads guilty to 2 felonies



Published: Wed, February 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A charge involving assault on a police officer was dropped earlier.

WARREN -- A plea deal brought a quick end to a drug possession trial that had drawn the attention of civil rights advocates.

Lyndal Kimble, 30, of 1597 Kenilworth Ave. S.E., pleaded guilty Tuesday to tampering with evidence and possession of cocaine, both felonies, as his jury trial was about to begin.

He faces one to three years in prison when sentenced in April; before the plea, he had faced five to six years. Kimble has a conviction in May 2000 for trafficking in cocaine.

A charge of assault on a police officer was dismissed by the prosecution Monday before jury selection began in the Trumbull County Common Pleas courtroom of Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

Protests outside court

Also Monday, about a dozen protesters marched outside the courthouse, protesting how Warren police had acted in the case. Kimble maintained he was a victim of police brutality.

A traffic stop June 28, 2003, and Kimble's arrest were videotaped by a bystander and then shown to broadcast networks. Warren police said Kimble swallowed a small amount of suspected drugs before resisting the officers who were trying to get him to spit the evidence.

But because the assault on a police officer charge was dropped, Judge McKay had told Kimble's lawyer, Richard Olivito, that excessive force was not relevant to the case and that the video had little value to the case and would not be shown to a jury.

Kimble remains free on $20,000 bond.

Exactly a year ago, the FBI said it was no longer investigating allegations of police brutality stemming from Kimble's arrest.

John Kane, agent in charge of the Youngstown office of the FBI, had said Kimble declined requests to be interviewed by his office.




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