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Suspects in Realtor's killing have no record

Published: Sat, September 25, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.




Neither of the two men charged with robbing, kidnapping and killing a Youngstown real-estate agent has a criminal record.

“It’s very odd that you see someone enter the system with this level of crime,” said city Prosecutor Jay Macejko.

Most people charged with the murder of a stranger, such as in this case, are usually charged with lesser crimes and work their way up to violent crimes, Macejko said.

“These two started at the pinnacle,” he said.

Robert S. Brooks, 25, of Castalia

Avenue in Youngstown, and Grant P. Cooper, 21, of Sulgrave Drive in Brookfield were arraigned Friday in Youngstown Municipal Court. Each faces a single count of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. Brooks and Cooper also were charged with aggravated arson.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to death.

The two are accused of Monday’s murder of Vivian Martin, 67, owner of Essence Realty. The two suspects strangled her, Macejko and Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said.

Her body was found badly burned inside a Nelson Avenue house that was set afire.

The suspects “got a small amount of cash and some jewelry” from Martin, Macejko said.

“There’s no reason this woman’s life should have been cut short,” he added.

Judge Robert P. Milich denied bond for the two suspects and ordered them held in the Mahoning County jail.

The two are scheduled to appear in court Friday for preliminary hearings. But Macejko said he expects the case to be directly presented to a county grand jury with Brooks and Cooper indicted Thursday on the charges. The case will then go to the county common pleas court.

Brooks and Cooper made separate video confessions that they killed Martin, Macejko and Hughes said.

When asked if he believed Brooks and Cooper lured Martin to the East Side home to not only rob her, but murder her, Macejko said, “Yes, I do. All indications are they went there with the intention to kill.”

Paul A. Brooks, 27, of Castalia Avenue in Youngstown, Robert S. Brooks’ brother, didn’t murder Martin, Hughes and Macejko said.

He was a suspect, but evidence shows he didn’t commit the murder and wasn’t at the murder scene, Hughes said.

But the two Brooks brothers are accused of the Sept. 15 robbery of a real-estate agent at gunpoint in Boardman.

The older Brooks has a criminal record and is on parole for aggravated robbery, according to a police affidavit.

Also, Youngstown police are investigating whether Paul Brooks was involved in planning the murder or possessed money or anything taken from Martin in the murder, Hughes said.

“We’re not trying to give him a get-out-of-jail-free card,” he said. “If we can connect him in any way” the police will charge him.

The three are believed to have “cased houses trying to rob agents,” Hughes said.

Two real-estate agents, suspicious of the brothers at open houses in Liberty days before the murder, provided information to police about the suspects and the vehicle they were driving.

“These guys attempted to set up additional Realtors,” Macejko said.

Also, Cooper is accused of stealing $2,500 worth of merchandise from the Brookfield Video store, where he was once employed. When he went to the Brookfield police station for questioning, Robert S. Brooks accompanied him.

After using a state attorney general background check system, Brookfield police learned that officers in Youngstown and Boardman were looking for the two, Hughes said.


1Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

"Most people charged with the murder of a stranger, such as in this case, are usually charged with lesser crimes and work their way up to violent crimes, Macejko said."

Thats why a slap on the wrist on there 1st, 2nd, 3rd,etc crime should be the max on there first. So they don't get the chance to work there way up to violent crimes!

2 useless pieces of trash.

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2mcree(22 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

As my father used to say, "Take them out back and shoot them like mad dogs". They will get the death sentence, probably. But then the taxpayers will pay to keep them alive, appeal after appeal for years. Maybe if the courts rewind to some of the practices of the old days and not let animals such as these two sit in a jail cell for years, maybe more crime would be deterred. Put them on trial, convict them and take them out back and shoot them like mad dogs. Watch the crime rate drop like a hot potato.

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3kensgirl(925 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm with you mcree. One difference. Hang them on the public square instead! Why waste the bullet when you can reuse the rope for the next one!!!!!

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

"If convicted, they could be sentenced to death."

They worked hard to get this far and let us not cheat them of their reward .

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5steelwagon(284 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't believe for a second that this is a first time crime.
It's the first time these scumbags have been caught is more like it.

I think the police need to go back and look into some unsolved armed robberies,murders and other violent crimes.

These creeps didn't just wake up one day and decide to rob and murder.
I'd be willing to bet almost anything they have gotten away with other violent crimes in the past.

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6mrblue(1159 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

No trial needed here. They said that they did it, so it is straight to death row. No appeals. Set the date.

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7juliepezzuolo(1 comment)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I am so tired of how these insane violent creatures take the lives of good hard working people. There was no reason this woman had to die those animals put no value on a human life. Now it is our turn! I place no value on their lives and they should be killed..no lethal injection I like what kensgirl said hang them and then we can reuse the rope! I hate that fact that our tax dollars will go to keep these monsters alive they said they did it now do away with them!

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8walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago


I have to agree with you. There is no way that this is their first crime, just the first time they were caught. The older Brooks is on parole for aggravated robbery. To think that the younger brother is a fine member of society is a stretch. They are all useless losers.

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9VickiB(2 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

When their on death row they can feel as Ms. Vivian did.. scared and aware of her death.
I was wondering just a few weeks ago, how does someone feel when they have found out that it is their relative that has murdered someone. I now know. Robert and Paul are my first cousins on my mothers side. I am basically still in shock and feel that he and the other guy should get what every murderer deserves; death.
I learned the true reason why the death penalty is right. For the murderer to know what death coming at them feels like.
Very eye-opening and almost overwhelming. Disturbing to say the least.
My deepest respects go out to Ms. Vivian, her daughter(s), (sons,), and her entire family lineage. God will bless.

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