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Judge sentences convicted killer to prison



Published: Tue, October 24, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The victim had arranged to meet a prostitute, police said.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The man charged with shooting Matthew J. Saunders to death in a robbery last year on the city's South Side has been sentenced to 23 years to life in prison.

Marcus Thomas, 21, of East Warren Avenue, pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated robbery with a firearm specification and was sentenced by Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Sweeney sentenced him Monday to 15 years to life on the murder charge, five years on the aggravated robbery and the mandatory three years on the firearm specification, all to be served consecutively. If he is released, Thomas will be on parole for five years.

Saunders, 40, of Youngstown, was found shot in the head just before midnight Aug. 16, 2005, outside his car in a parking lot at Pyatt and Erie streets. Police said Saunders had arranged to meet a prostitute.

There were three other defendants in this case. Jawan Johnson, 26, of East Judson Avenue, who pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery with a firearm specification, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison. Laticia Alexander, 30, of East Warren Avenue, pleaded guilty to complicity to aggravated robbery and is awaiting sentencing. Johnson and Alexander made plea agreements in exchange for their cooperation with authorities and possible testimony against their co-defendants.

A jury convicted Andrea Kimble, 23, of Green Acres Drive, last month on charges of complicity to murder and complicity to aggravated robbery in Saunders' death. Kimble is awaiting sentencing. At Kimble's trial, Alexander testified that Kimble told her in advance that Alexander wouldn't have to perform as a prostitute because Saunders was being set up for a robbery.




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