Jury pool assembles for Agee trial in slaying of man leaving church

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



Court proceedings are under way in a murder trial that could send one man to death row.

Prosecutors and police say 26-year-old Kevin Agee, with co-defendant 30-year-old Aubrey Toney, shot and killed an elderly man on the city’s South Side in September 2010. The murder victim’s wife was wounded and ultimately lost a leg as a result of the shooting.

A Mahoning County grand jury handed up indictments against both men on charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder and felonious assault.

On Friday, Agee sat in the courtroom of Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court as more than 130 potential jurors began the process to determine who would be selected to determine his guilt or innocence.

A panel of 12 jurors and several alternates must be seated before the trial can start.

Toney is a co-defendant in the case, but because both men face the death penalty if convicted, they will have separate trials.

Thomas Repchic, 74, of Trenton Avenue, was fatally shot, and his wife, Jacqueline, 74 at the time, was shot in her leg, which had to be amputated. Police believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity in a feud between two rival factions.

The shooting occurred at Southern Boulevard and Philadelphia Avenue after the Repchics had just left St. Dominic Church in their older-model Cadillac.

Agee previously had tried to get the charges against him dismissed, contending that his rights were violated because he was not given a preliminary hearing before the charges against him were bound over to the grand jury.

“I am in illegal detention, your honor. The ball is in your court,” he told the judge in November.

Atty. Rhys Cartwright-Jones, representing Agee, told the court a preliminary hearing was in order and a right Agee was not afforded. He said the charges against his client, therefore, should be dismissed.

Judge Sweeney rejected that argument, ordering Agee to stand trial on the charges. He remains in jail on a $5 million bond.

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