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Judge denies bail to suspects

Published: Wed, February 9, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.


Columbus Jones, Jr.


Braylon Rogers

YSU Tragedy 911 calls
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By John W. Goodwin Jr.



Two men facing multiple felony charges in the shooting at a house near Youngstown State University will remain locked up in Mahoning County jail as their cases go through the legal system.

Both Braylon Rogers, 19, of East Lucius Avenue and Columbus Jones Jr., 22, of Cambridge Avenue have been charged with aggravated murder, 11 counts of felonious assault and improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation in the Sunday morning shooting.

They appeared via video for arraignment Tuesday before Judge Robert Douglas of Youngstown Municipal Court.

YSU President Cynthia Anderson and YSU Police Chief John Gocala attended the arraignment, but they left the courtroom without giving any statements.

Jamail Johnson, 25, of 55 Indiana Ave., a YSU senior, was killed in the shooting. Eleven other people were injured. Jones told Judge Douglas he is unemployed and does charitable work so he would need an attorney to represent him.

Jones’ parents sat in court holding hands as their son appeared on the television monitor. His mother wiped tears from her eyes as she clinched the father’s hand. The father held a Bible with his free hand.

Prosecutors told the court Jones has a conviction for assault on a teacher when he was a juvenile, meaning he should not have had a firearm. City Prosecutor Jay Macejko said that violation may lead to additional charges against the man at a later date.

Court files show Jones has also been convicted of felony burglary. He pleaded guilty to the charge in August 2007 and was sentenced to an in-house treatment program to be followed by two years’ probation. He ultimately was sentenced to three years in prison because of a probation violation in February 2008 but was released in April 2009.

Police reports also show that Jones was accused of punching a woman in the face in 2007 as she fought with his girlfriend over a pair of broken glasses.

Judge Douglas ordered Jones jailed without bond.

Rogers retained lawyers Edward Hartwig and Ron Yarwood. He said nothing during the hearing.

Hartwig told the court his client is not a flight risk and hired attorneys in anticipation of fighting the charges.

Prosecutors told the court Rogers has juvenile convictions for attempted burglary and disorderly conduct.

A check of Youngstown police files shows Rogers was involved in a hit-skip accident in 2009 when he was 17.

Judge Douglas also ordered Rogers jailed without bond.

Both men are due back in court at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 16.

Macejko said charges against the two could be directly presented to a county grand jury in the near future, at which time the municipal court would give up jurisdiction to county common pleas court.

He said police still are investigating the case, including a claim by one victim that Jones and Rogers did not commit the crime. Macejko said, however, he is confident the right two men are in custody.

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