Jamar Houser could face the death penalty if convicted of shooting an elderly woman in the parking lot of a South Side church and stealing her handbag earlier this year.
A Mahoning County grand jury handed up an indictment Thursday against Houser, 19, of Volney Road, charging him with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and being a convicted felon in illegal possession of weapon. The charges have death-penalty specifications.
Houser is charged with murder in the Jan. 23 killing of Angeline Fimognari, 80, of Sheridan Road, in the parking lot of St. Dominic Church on the South Side. Fimognari was shot in the head. Her purse was missing, leading police to believe she was a victim of a robbery turned deadly.
Houser has been in the county jail since his Jan. 29 arrest on a $3 million bond set by Judge Robert Milich of Youngstown Municipal Court.
Houser also is in the jail serving 90 days on unrelated charges of disorderly conduct and criminal damaging stemming from a confrontation with a neighbor before the Fimognari shooting.
The jail time resulted from an altercation Houser had with Jaa’Bone Kennedy, 58, of Indianola Avenue.
Kennedy, who lives near Houser, said he was walking near Houser’s home in August 2009 when words were exchanged, and Houser threatened to do him bodily harm.
Kennedy and Houser began fighting. Kennedy said he was jumped by a group of Houser’s family and friends. He told the municipal court that he believed Houser was reaching for a gun at one point and that he would be shot.
Judge Elizabeth Kobly of Youngstown Municipal Court ordered Houser to serve the 90-day sentence.
The case is further complicated by the reported actions of Houser’s family members.
His parents have been indicted on felony retaliation charges for reportedly threatening a witness against their son.
John Houser, 46, and Frances Cianciola, 42, were arrested outside their residence on Volney Road on warrants charging them with retaliation. John Houser also is in the county jail on a $250,000 bond. Cianciola is free on a $100,000 bond.