Salem man convicted of murder
Shane Mitchell faces a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
LISBON -- A Salem man will find out Friday how many years he'll spend in prison for helping beat and kick another man to death.
Shane A. Mitchell, 19, of Fifth Street, Salem, had been on trial in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court for a role in the brutal death of 35-year-old Bradley L. VanHorn of Salem in December 2004.
A jury deliberated about two hours Monday before returning guilty verdicts on charges of murder, robbery and tampering with evidence.
By law, Judge C. Ashley Pike must impose a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life in prison for the murder charge. Mitchell also could get up to 10 years for the robbery and five years for the tampering charge.
Assistant Prosecutor John Gamble said he will ask for maximum, consecutive sentences. That would mean a total sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
Defense attorneys Ronald Yarwood and Edward Hartwig said they will look into possible appellate options and discuss them with Mitchell.
Authorities said Mitchell and another man, Richard P. Forrester, 20, of Lisbon, took VanHorn to the parking lot of a Salem church on the pretense of making a drug deal. Once there, the men knocked VanHorn to the ground, punched and kicked him in the head.
Forrester has pleaded guilty to murder and is serving a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. As a condition of his plea agreement, he testified for prosecutors against Mitchell.
Forrester said both he and Mitchell beat VanHorn, but Mitchell denied it when he took the witness stand in his own defense.