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Man found not guilty of tampering with a body

Published: Fri, December 7, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Staff report


One of the men accused of tampering with a body was found not guilty by a jury this week, while the second defendant awaits sentencing after pleading guilty.

Robert J. Tovarnak, 44, of East Midlothian Boulevard, was found not guilty Wednesday by a jury of seven women and five men in front of Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Tovarnak was facing charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the death of William Lewis, 47, who was found dead of a drug overdose in a car on Griselda Avenue on Feb. 24.

David L. Jenkins, 43, of East Ravenwood Avenue, pleaded guilty in July to the same felony charges that Tovarnak faced. A sentencing date has not been set for Jenkins.

Judge Sweeney has ordered a pre-sentencing investigation, and prosecutors have recommended community control with the Community Corrections Association of America, according to court records.

A 17-year-old city male also was charged, and his case is in juvenile court.

Police said the defendants were accused of having “treated a human corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities” by injecting Lewis’ body with a saltwater solution, pouring cleaning fluid in his mouth and stealing about $400 from him. Lewis’ body was discovered three days later.

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