Woman jailed on charges over Dec. standoff in Youngstown

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By John W. Goodwin Jr.



The 20-year-old woman who called police in December, touching off a six-hour standoff with officers, is now in Mahoning County jail facing charges in that incident.

Lelia Whatley, who gave a Warren address, was arraigned Thursday before Judge Elizabeth Kobly of Youngstown Municipal Court on misdemeanor charges of inducing panic, making false alarms and two counts of falsification. Judge Kobly ordered her held on a combined $10,000 bond.

Whatley called Youngs-town police Dec. 27 on the 20-year-old father of her child, Kevon Williams of Ohio Avenue, claiming Williams had assaulted her and threatened her with a firearm and was holding hostages. Police converged on Williams’ Ohio Avenue home, but he refused to open the door for officers or come outside.

Police tried for hours to coax Williams out of the house, eventually firing tear gas into the North Side home. Ultimately, officers rushed the house and took Williams into custody.

Police found no firearm inside.

Williams is charged with burglary as well as misdemeanor charges of inducing panic, obstructing official business and interference with custody. He is in jail on a $40,000 bond.

Now, authorities say the phone call that started the standoff was a lie.

Police Chief Rod Foley said once investigators started talking to witnesses it was clear that Whatley was not being truthful about what took place in the home.

“She got us all up there, and we realized that some of the stuff just wasn’t panning out when we started to talk to the witnesses,” the chief said.

Several people inside the home at the time of the standoff spoke with The Vindicator and said Williams told Whatley to leave the house and Whatley became upset. They said Williams did not have a gun and did not hold anyone hostage inside the house.

Foley said the incident will cost law enforcement about $5,000 in manpower plus additional costs. He said Whatley could be held liable for at least part of those costs.

Whatley is no stranger to law enforcement. Prosecutors said she has had previous arrests for receiving stolen property, domestic violence, failure to comply and resisting arrest. Some of those charges stem from a short police chase she led police on in March 2011.

Whatley also had been arrested in August 2010 after police say she and her sister attacked their grandmother at gunpoint and took her purse and a 2000 Plymouth Neon. The grandmother had a bloody lip and slight bruises on the left side of her head, police said.

Charges of aggravated robbery and domestic violence against Whatley in the alleged attack on the grandmother were ultimately dismissed.

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