Court to decide about evidence
Prosecutors believe police recovered the murder weapon the day McKinney was arrested.
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Judge W. Wyatt McKay listened to testimony Friday in a hearing to determine whether certain evidence will be admissible in the upcoming murder trial of Jermaine McKinney.
The judge heard testimony from Youngstown Patrolman Dave Wilson about events surrounding McKinney's arrest Jan. 1, 2006, and from two female accomplices of McKinney's about a handgun prosecutors say was used in one of the murders.
McKinney, 26, of Youngstown and Girard, is set to go on trial on Oct. 11 in the murder of Wanda Rollyson, 70, and her daughter, Rebecca Cliburn, 43, on Dec. 21,2005, in Rollyson's home on Newton-Bailey Road, Newton Township. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
McKinney was arrested in Youngstown after he holed up in a house for four hours, shooting at police officers. Wilson testified Friday about being the negotiator who tried to talk McKinney out of the house on Halleck Street the day he was arrested.
What's in motion
McKinney's lawyers, Larry Smith and Donald J. Malarcik of Akron, asked that evidence be suppressed about McKinney's arrest on the grounds that the evidence would violate McKinney's constitutional right to due process.
Additionally, the value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues or of misleading the jury, Malarcik said in a motion he filed with the court.
With regard to McKinney's accomplices, Keyatta Riley Hines and Jazzmine McIver of Warren, Malarcik said the two were brought to the Trumbull County prosecutor's office from the Trumbull County Jail on Aug. 16, 2006, and individually shown a small-caliber handgun.
Within a matter of seconds, each witness identified the hand as same gun they had seen McKinney with Dec. 21, 2005, Malarcik wrote. That was the day, prosecutors say, the two women went to Rollyson's home while McKinney was there and the day Rollyson and Cliburn were killed.
Malarcik said the technique used by prosecutors to display the handgun was unduly suggestive, giving rise to a substantial risk of misidentification.
However, in court Friday, only McIver said she identified the gun as being the one she saw McKinney with on the day of the murders. McIver also testified that she had seen McKinney with the gun at an earlier time.
Riley Hines said she thought McKinney's gun was bigger than the one prosecutors showed her, however.
Both women have pleaded guilty to complicity to aggravated robbery, complicity to aggravated burglary and complicity to aggravated kidnapping. They are in jail awaiting sentencing after McKinney's trial.
The prosecution, in a motion filed with the court, said introducing evidence from McKinney's arrest is admissible if it is introduced for the purpose of establishing possession of the murder weapon. One of the weapons used in the shoot-out is also the murder weapon and proves the identity of the murderer, the prosecution said.
Judge McKay will rule later. He did rule Friday against a defense motion to push back the trial date.