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EAST SIDE SHOOTOUT 2 testify against suspects



Published: Tue, July 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A defense attorney said one of the shooting suspects likely will be released.

By KANTELE FRANKO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Amid tightened security Monday afternoon, the cases of three men accused of shooting at police officers and residences -- or both -- were bound over to a Mahoning County grand jury, and charges against a fourth man were dismissed.

Municipal Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly denied three separate motions made by defense attorneys Martin Yavorcik, Dennis DiMartino and Robert Rohrbaugh to dismiss the cases of their clients, Duniek Christian, Jumal Edwards and Brandon Jackson.

Testimony from two witnesses supported accusations that the men participated in a series of violent encounters on the East Side earlier this month.

Charges

Edwards, 21, of Woodcrest Avenue, is charged with aggravated robbery and seven counts of felonious assault on a police officer. Edwards' bond continues at $4.5 million.

Christian, 20, of North Garland Avenue, faces seven counts of felonious assault on a police officer with a continuing bond of $3.9 million.

Jackson, 21, of North Truesdale Avenue, is charged with seven counts of felonious assault on a police officer. His bond continues at $1 million.

Judge Kobly dismissed both charges against Antoine White, 19, of South Forest Street. White had faced a charge of felonious assault and a charge of firing into a habitation. After the hearing, White's lawyer, Mark Carfolo, said that White's bond would be dismissed, and he would likely be released as soon as correct paperwork was filed.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said the charges were dropped against White because two witnesses recanted their testimony.

Judge Kobly bound the cases to the grand jury after hearing the testimony of Mount Zion Baptist Church secretary Althea Robinson and Youngstown police Sgt. Bill Ross.

Testimony

Robinson testified that on July 1, Edwards came to the church requesting prayer, noting that his brother had been killed. She said he later returned to the church and pointed a handgun at her and her 6-year-old granddaughter before demanding the keys to her Cadillac and leaving the church.

Ross testified to his experience following the Cadillac after hearing a radio alert on his way to work that day. He described a head-on collision between the Cadillac and an unmarked police car, his view of the individuals inside the car, which he said was driven by Christian, and the assault rifle used by someone to shoot at him.

Ross also said he saw the defendants flee the car and run into a section of woods bordered by Pearl Street.

Feud

The case also involves at least two crimes from June 29, including the homicide of Edwards' brother, which police have said the men were attempting to avenge July 1 before the police pursuit began.

Two juveniles, 17-year-old Craig Franklin Jr. and 16-year-old Adam Christian, also face charges related to the case.

A motion is pending to try Franklin, who Ross identified as a passenger in the Cadillac, as an adult.

Police have said two feuding families, the Christians and the Apontes, are responsible for the violence.




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