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Man is found guilty of voluntary manslaughter

Published: Thu, February 7, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

‘This is the worst form of the offense,’ a prosecutor says.

YOUNGSTOWN — Allen K. Frost faces six to 13 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter with a firearm specification in the shooting death of Gregory Sopher last Oct. 27.

After three hours of deliberations at the end of a three-day trial, the seven-woman, five-man jury rendered its verdict Wednesday afternoon before Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Frost, 37, of Crandall Avenue, would have faced 18 years to life in prison had he been convicted on the original charge of murder with a gun specification, which alleged he purposely killed Sopher. The lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, on which Frost was convicted, states that the death occurred after provocation from the victim.

“I can’t say that I agree with them, but I respect their opinion. It’s a difficult position they’re in,” Robert J. Andrews, assistant county prosecutor, said of the jurors.

Saying he doesn’t believe Frost was provoked, Andrews said he’s recommending a 13-year prison term for Frost when he is sentenced at 11 a.m. March 21. “I believe that this is the worst form of the offense. He pointed a gun at Greg Sopher and said, ‘You don’t believe I’m going to do this, do you?,’’’ before firing, Andrews said.

The prosecution said Frost shot Sopher, 18, of Canfield, in the head with a .38-caliber revolver at close range and deliberately killed him after Sopher lost a bet on a video game to Frost in Frost’s residence. Frost shot Sopher because he took offense after Sopher inquired why he was missing all of his money, not just the $50 he had lost in the bet, Andrews told the jurors.

However, Martin E. Yavorcik, the defense lawyer, said Sopher, who had gone to Frost’s residence to buy and use drugs, became extremely upset and belligerent after losing the game and challenged Frost to fight.

Frost, who was weakened by a stroke, wanted none of that, ordered Sopher to leave and pulled the pistol, which discharged, Yavorcik said. Frost did not intend to kill Sopher, Yavorcik told the jury.

“It’s a just verdict. I think that the jury took into consideration everything — all the facts — and they came to the right decision. We admitted that the crime occurred,” Yavorcik said.

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