Rowe said he doesn't recall what went wrong the night he shot an acquaintance.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Three years ago this month, Donell J. Rowe was shot outside a bar on the city's West Side by Martin J. Koliser, who also killed a Youngstown police officer that night.
That made Rowe's role in Justin Salata's shooting last December all the more confusing to Judge Maureen A. Cronin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
"You've been shot before. How did you not learn anything from that incident?" Judge Cronin asked Rowe before sentencing him Wednesday to three years in prison. "You're going to end up dead."
"I hope not," Rowe, 26, of East Avondale Avenue, said.
Rowe pleaded guilty in February to one count of aggravated assault with firearm specification and one count of illegal possession of a weapon or weapons, which he was prohibited from possessing because of a prior misdemeanor drug conviction. A charge of illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor establishment was dropped. The firearm specification earned Rowe a mandatory one-year prison term, a consecutive 18-month sentence on the assault conviction and a concurrent two-year term for the weapons charge.
Rowe told Judge Cronin that he met Salata while they were in high school. Rowe didn't like some of Salata's friends, he said. When Rowe and Salata saw each other in a bar last December, they drank a shot, he recalled. Rowe said he's not sure what went wrong between them that night, but acknowledged shooting Salata in the abdomen. Police found Salata near South Heights and Sheridan avenues.
Salata attended the sentencing but did not give a victim statement. Rowe apologized for shooting him.
Judge Cronin also questioned Rowe on the meaning of some of his tattoos, which were documented in a presentence investigation report. His 5150 tattoo signified his former gang membership, he told the judge.
Once Rowe is released from prison, he must avoid contact with Salata, Judge Cronin said.