Jurors begin deliberations in capital murder trial

By Peter H. Milliken

Closing arguments in the trial of Curtis Young preceded the deliberations.

YOUNGSTOWN — The nine-woman, three-man jury deciding the fate of Curtis Young in his capital murder trial resume deliberations today.

The jurors, who got the case at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, suspended their deliberations at 7 p.m. They were bused from the Mahoning County Courthouse to a hotel, where they were sequestered for the night.

Also sequestered at the hotel under sheriff’s deputy guard were one man and two women alternates.

Jurors were allowed to make a call to inform a family member of their sequestration in the hotel, after which the bailiff was to collect and retain their cell phones; and their TV viewing was to be monitored in a community room during their sequestration, said Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

The judge reminded them not to discuss the case with anyone and not to hear or view any media coverage of this trial.

Young, 26, of North Center Street, is charged with aggravated murder with firearm and death-penalty specifications in the July 31, 2007, shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend, Helen Moore, 29, of Cassius Street, her nearly full-term unborn child, and her 8-year-old son, Ceonei.

In her instructions to the jury Thursday, Judge Sweeney gave the jurors options of finding Young guilty of aggravated murder, or of the lesser-included offenses of murder or voluntary manslaughter, or of acquitting him if they believe his self-defense claim.

“He showed no evidence of self-defense. His story is a complete lie,” Martin P. Desmond, assistant county prosecutor, told the jurors during his closing argument. “He had a plan and carried it through.”

Young went to Helen Moore’s home on the day of the shooting and threatened to kill her and her children, Mary Moore, the victim’s sister, told police, Desmond reminded the jurors.

Mary Moore and her son, Garrison, testified they heard Young tell someone he was talking to on his cell phone to get his gun, while cars driven by Helen and Mary Moore and Young were at McGuffey Mall on Garland Avenue during the rolling argument that preceded the shooting, Desmond recalled for the jury.

Young’s lawyer, Thomas E. Zena, however, told the jurors that records of the timing and origin and destination of cell phone calls, which were presented by the prosecution, do not corroborate what was said during the calls.

Zena referred to Young’s testimony that he fired one shot in self-defense as Helen Moore pushed the accelerator and tried to run over him with her car in front of Young’s residence.

“However fast that car was going, it was enough to turn it over,” Zena said of Helen Moore’s car, which left the road and overturned onto its passenger side immediately after she was shot.

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