By Ashley Luthern
A murder suspect’s arraignment ended with the defendant’s bond set at $1.25 million and one of his relatives joining him in jail after a melee in a court hallway.
Melvin S. Shaw II, 18, of Idlewood Avenue, was arraigned by video Wednesday morning in Youngstown Municipal Court in the shooting death of Tracee Banks, 17, and attempted murder of Ohio State University football recruit Jamel Turner, 18.
Shaw appeared silent on screen and was represented by Attorney Thomas Zena. Magistrate Anthony Sertick set bond at $500,000 and $750,000. Shaw will have a preliminary trial at 10 a.m. July 23.
After the arraignment, as family and friends of the victim and the suspect left the courtroom, an altercation broke out, and dozens of police officers rushed to the scene.
Wade Shaw, 35, of Youngstown, was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and resisting arrest and was taken to Mahoning County jail. It’s unclear how Wade Shaw and Melvin Shaw are related.
Wade Shaw was swinging his arms wildly, and a Youngstown police officer told him to stop twice, according to a police report. When the officer tried to make an arrest, he was pushed away during the melee. The officer shocked him in the torso with a Taser.
“We were going to the elevator, and someone in the Shaw family punched my son [Gerald Banks Jr., the father of Tracee Banks] in the face,” said Barbara Cottle, Tracee’s grandmother.
Wade Shaw was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center to have the Taser barb removed. He was then returned to the Youngstown Police Department where he was booked and transported to jail.
“Their son ain’t dead,” Cottle said. “We’ll never see [Tracee] again.”
The brawl highlighted security concerns previously voiced by Youngstown Municipal Court judges.
“The bigger problem is that the facility is inadequate and can’t stop things like this from happening,” said Judge Elizabeth Kobly, who viewed security camera footage of the brawl.
Two security guards, paid by city administration, are stationed to protect the entire floor, which includes three courtrooms and the clerk of courts office. This floor connects City Hall with the Youngstown police station. Those leaving the Shaw arraignment were walking to the public elevator on the City Hall side of the floor when the fight broke out.
“We can’t make that place safe,” Judge Kobly said. “We can’t make it secure. We’ve done all we can do, and our hands are tied.”
Judges can request extra security from Youngstown police, said Chief Jimmy Hughes.
SDLqI think we had a good response,” Hughes said. “This wasn’t a situation where we had to get there; we were there at the time it happened.”
At Melvin Shaw’s next hearing July 23, there will be no opportunity for the families to mingle or anything that would lead to a fight, he said.
“We look forward to the next hearing and when that happens, we’ll have a good presence to make sure everyone’s under control,” Hughes said.
The melee followed an orderly hearing in which Attorney John Marsh, assistant city law director, sought $1.5 million bond for the two charges.
Sertick set the bond at the lower amount after Zena said Shaw has no prior criminal history and surrendered to the police without incident Tuesday.