Driver in thwarted robbery gets 28 to life

By Peter H. Milliken


The would-be getaway driver in the attempted robbery of Galaxy Seafood on Belmont Avenue that resulted in a fatal police shooting has been sentenced to 28 years to life in prison.

Nathaniel Dumas, 36, of East Florida Avenue, who was convicted by a jury Wednesday of murder and aggravated robbery with a firearm specification, drew the sentence Friday from Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

“I’ll be back,” Dumas told the judge. “I thank you for violating my rights and giving me appeal grounds.”

While working store security, city police officer Mike Walker fatally shot the alleged would-be armed robber, Warren V. Wright, 32, of Youngstown.

Dumas was charged with murder because the prosecution said he was Wright’s accomplice in the attempted robbery that resulted in Wright’s death on April 8, 2011.

With security provided by a sergeant and six deputy sheriffs, Dumas was present in the courtroom when Judge Evans gave him maximum consecutive sentences.

Dumas had watched his trial and jury verdict elsewhere in the courthouse via Skype because Judge Evans said he was potentially disruptive.

Rebecca Doherty, chief of the criminal division in the county prosecutor’s office, called for maximum consecutive sentences, saying Dumas had been to prison three times. His criminal record, dating back to 1995, includes charges of aggravated menacing, drug abuse, illegal gun possession and carrying a concealed weapon, she said.

However, Dumas’ lawyer, Mark Carfolo, asked the judge to consider imposing the minimum sentence, which would have been 18 years to life in prison.

Even according to the prosecution’s case, which Carfolo said was based on “very limited evidence,” Dumas provided only transportation, never entered Galaxy, never had or fired a gun, and never hurt anyone, Carfolo said.

In his request for a new trial, Dumas complained that the jury never saw and heard a recording of the complete statement of co-defendant James Thomas to Detective Darryl Martin, which Dumas said differed substantially from Thomas’ testimony in the trial.

“If that DVD would have been played, that jury would have found me not guilty,” Dumas said.

Doherty said Thomas, 51, of Belmont Avenue, who pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery with a firearm specification, rang the buzzer for Wright to gain admission to the store.

The prosecution recommended a low-end six-year prison term for Thomas in exchange for his testimony against Dumas.

When Dumas leaves prison, he’ll be on parole for five years, Judge Evans said.

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