Gang member Dion D. Weatherspoon has been charged with murder.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN — Word on the street was that William “Mike” Burr had a $10,000 bounty on his head.
Burr, the only witness who could identify his brother’s killers, was silenced forever in what his widow believes was a setup by a so-called friend he’d arranged to meet outside a South Avenue pizza shop Sunday evening.
Burr, 27, of Struthers, was shot multiple times as he sat in his car outside Angelo’s Pizza, waiting for the friend.
After talking to witnesses and reviewing surveillance tape, Detective Sgt. Ron Rodway obtained a murder warrant late Monday for Dion D. Weatherspoon, 19, of Hilton Avenue, a member of the L-Unit, a South Side gang.
Last November, Weatherspoon pleaded guilty to a gang charge and received probation in juvenile court. He also was placed on three years’ probation that month in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in a stolen property case out of Boardman.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force were out Monday and Tuesday looking for Weatherspoon, who police said should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who knows his whereabouts is asked to call 911.
“We begged for protection; these kids in Youngstown don’t mess around. We heard that $10,000 was offered to kill my husband,” said Jocelyn Burr on Tuesday, sitting on her front porch in Struthers. With no police protection, “We left and went to a relative’s house.”
That was in early January, a few days after Mike Burr’s brother, Anthony Perez, 31, was shot to death while they were detailing a car on Clearmount Avenue. “My husband escaped by the grace of God,” said 27-year-old Jocelyn Burr, wiping tears from her eyes.
She said a mix-up in the sale of a car resulted in the confrontation that ended her brother-in-law’s life. Recalling what she’d learned from her husband, she said six gunmen showed up, two of whom stayed back to act as lookouts. Her husband was able to identify the remaining four for detectives.
So far, brothers Darrin Davis, 17, and Reshaud M. Biggs, 21, both of East Florida Avenue are charged with Perez’s murder. A pretrial is set for next month in common pleas court.
Prosecutor Paul J. Gains was asked Tuesday what happens to the murder case against Biggs and Davis now that the only eyewitness is dead. Gains’ only comment was, “We’ll look into our options.”
The Burr family returned to their home in Struthers about three weeks ago, thinking they’d be safe since nothing had happened in the almost six months they’d been hiding out. The family includes two children: a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl.
“Now I don’t know if I should stay. If I was in the car Sunday — and the children — [the shooter] still would have done it,” she said. “I’m terrified.”
Burr is convinced that Weatherspoon shot her husband to make the murder case against Biggs and Davis go away. She said her husband didn’t know Weatherspoon, whom she called one of Biggs’ “soldiers.”
Burr learned from detectives that Weatherspoon — and likely the friend her husband arranged to meet — had been across the street from the pizza shop when her husband parked his car. Weatherspoon briefly entered the pizza shop and, when he came out, opened fire on Burr, police said.
“I don’t know why God spared my husband for just six months,” Burr said, looking at her son and daughter. “There should be a witness-protection program to loan money, we could have moved.”
She said members of street gangs will do anything for one another, including murder.