Guard held in soldier’s killing

By Denise Dick

A preliminary hearing is set for this morning.

AUSTINTOWN — The grandmother of a 22-year-old Army private killed earlier this month while at a Burkey Road home is relieved that the man authorities believe is responsible is behind bars.

Police charged Donnie Reed, 49, of Burkey Road, with murder in the April 4 shooting death of Randy Davis, 22. Davis had lived on Mayfield Drive, Boardman, with his grandparents and on Oneta Avenue, Youngstown, with his mother.

Police arrested Reed late Monday afternoon at a North Meridian Road business where he was working security, detectives Sgts. Doug Scharsu and Dan Kosco said.

“We’re very happy because my grandson is in the ground and this guy has been walking around in the sun and eating and drinking and having a good old time,” said Connie Zuccaro, Davis’ grandmother.

Kenneth Cardinal, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, said a gunshot residue test performed on Reed’s hands returned positive — while no gunshot residue was found on Davis.

“That tells you who was holding the gun at the time it went off,” Cardinal said.

Reed had told police at the time of the shooting that Davis had asked to see his guns. He said he took Davis back to a room, handed Davis his World War II-era .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, turned his back, heard the slide go back and the gun fire. Davis was struck in the forehead.

“The forensics came back, and the forensics don’t match his story,” the assistant prosecutor said.

Authorities don’t know the motive.

Reed’s preliminary hearing is set for this morning in Mahoning County Court here. At Reed’s initial court appearance Monday night, Judge David D’Apolito set bond at $1 million, and Reed remains at the Mahoning County Jail.

Davis, along with his older brother, Ron Davis, and some other young men were at Reed’s house April 4.

Zuccaro said that Randy barely knew Reed, but Ron and Reed had worked together at a carpet business. Zuccaro said she didn’t believe Reed was of “good character” and had advised Ron not to hang out with him.

The night of the shooting, Randy left Zuccaro’s Boardman home and planned to stay the night at the home of his mother, Debra Zuccaro, in Youngstown. He was to play video games with his younger brother, Nicholas, 19, she said.

When Randy and Ron left their mother’s city home, their mom believed they were going to their aunt’s house and would return shortly, Connie Zuccaro said.

“He never came back,” she said.

Randy, who had attended Springfield Local Schools, was on leave for a few weeks from the Army after completing basic training at Fort Lee, Va. He was to report back to Fort Lee on April 18.

“He was supposed to be back at Fort Lee right now, not in the ground,” his grandmother said.

Randy loved the Army and wanted to serve his country in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

“We was such a great kid,” Zuccaro said.

His death has left a void in the family.

“We cry every day for Randy,” she said. “We’ll never forget him.”

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