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Four charged in death of man

Published: Fri, March 9, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Staff report


Three men and a juvenile have been arrested on charges related to the death of a man who overdosed on drugs last month, but one of the men has since had the charges dismissed.

Robert J. Tovarnak, 43, of East Midlothian Boulevard, was arraigned Thursday in Youngstown Municipal Court on charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. He was arrested at the corner of Hilton and Market streets about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Tovarnak was not named in warrants issued last week relating to the death of 47-year-old William Lewis, who was found in a car on Griselda Avenue on Feb. 24.

Warrants issued last week charged Roberto Vega, 31, of Pearl Street and David L. Jenkins, 42, of East Ravenwood Avenue, with felony abuse of a corpse and felony tampering with evidence.

A 17-year-old city male also has been charged, and his case is proceeding through juvenile court, police said.

The charges against Vega were dismissed Tuesday at the request of Youngstown city prosecutors, according to court records. Jenkins had his initial court appearance in Youngstown Municipal Court on Wednesday and will be back Wednesday for a preliminary hearing in front of Judge Elizabeth Kobly.

Jenkins, Tovarnak and the teen are accused of having “treated a human corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities,” according to police records.

Specifically, police said they think the three individuals had a role in injecting Lewis’ body with a saltwater solution, pouring cleaning fluid in his mouth and taking about $400 from him Feb. 21.

Lewis was then left on Griselda Avenue on the city’s South Side where he was discovered three days later, police said.


1uetz(38 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

They were actually trying to bring him back to life. Though extreme it may sound, a shot of salt water is comon knowledge amongst addicts to revive someone who has recently over dosed from opiates. Whether this is true or not I cannot say, but a few years ago I did see it work.

As for the cleaning fluid, it could have been a last ditch attempt to bring him back, but nonetheless seems a little odd.

They were probably also junkies themselves and took the $400 figuring he didn't need it anymore.

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2Reader(126 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

@uets, They didn't even try to get this guy medical help.They could have called an ambulance and left the scene at the very least instead of pouring cleaning fluids into his body, robbing him, then leaving him for dead to not be found for days. No excuse, they are wrong for not getting him medical help among other things.

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3Ceaman(54 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Do junkies think as normal people?

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4drpautot(70 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Ceaman, no we dont. those of us that have killed the demon can never think normally ever again, and probably never did to begin with. then again...having a mental defect does have its upsides too.

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