Deliberations resume in YSU frat house shooting case
By Peter H. Milliken
A jury here will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. today in the trial of Jamelle Jackson for the murder of a Youngstown State University student and the wounding of 11 others by gunfire at a house party near the campus.
The jury of Summit County residents deliberated for about 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon before suspending deliberations for the night. The trial was moved here because of extensive pretrial publicity in Youngstown.
Jackson and Columbus Jones turned a fist fight deadly on Feb. 6, 2011, a prosecutor told jurors in her closing argument Wednesday morning.
“There is not one piece of evidence that points to anyone else other than Jamelle Jackson and Columbus Jones shooting guns that night,” said Rebecca Doherty, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor.
Jackson, 20, of West Boston Avenue, is charged with murder in the shooting death of Jamail Johnson, a 25-year-old YSU senior, and with 11 counts of felonious assault for the injuries to the others struck by bullets at the Indiana Avenue party.
Jones, 24, of Cambridge Avenue, was convicted earlier of the murder and felonious assaults and sentenced to 92 years in prison.
In his closing argument, John Ams, a lawyer for Jackson, cited inconsistencies in witness testimony concerning details of events at the party, and he cited the criminal records of some of those witnesses.
“There was a search warrant on Jamelle Jackson’s house, and they didn’t find anything there,” Ams said, referring to police, who found no evidence there for this case.
Ams noted that co-defendant Braylon Rogers, 21, a key prosecution witness, who identified Jackson and Jones as the shooters, pleaded guilty to illegal gun possession.
“Braylon Rogers got the deal of a lifetime,” when prosecutors agreed to recommend probation for him in exchange for his testimony, Ams said.
However, Doherty said police were able to corroborate everything Rogers told them when they executed search warrants at various locations, except that police never recovered the guns.
Earlier on Wednesday, Victor Toney, 24, a prosecution witness, testified he saw Jackson draw a gun outside the Indiana Avenue house and that Jackson put the gun away at his urging.
“This is way past the norm. This just has no business happening at this place and time. So, I explained that to him: ‘You don’t want to do this. This is unnecessary,’’’ Toney recalled.
Toney was picked up at his Boardman workplace and escorted by sheriff’s deputies to Akron Wednesday wearing an orange jail uniform after he ignored a witness subpoena.
Another prosecution witness, Ebony Mickel, 22, of Youngstown, testified she fell to the floor of the house after hearing gunshots and realized she had been shot in her left foot.
However, she said she did not see a gun on anyone in the darkness of the room where the party was taking place.