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BREAKING NEWS: Murder charges dropped against Jamar Houser in 2010 shooting death

Published: Thu, May 24, 2012 @ 10:14 a.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — Jamar Houser has been housed in the Mahoning County jail for more than two years on murder charges that could have landed him on death row, but he may soon be a free man.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains today had a press conference detailing the ongoing case against Houser and announcing that murder charges against the accused man will be dismissed.

Houser, 20, had been charged with the Jan. 23, 2010, murder of Angeline Fimognari, 80, of Sheridan Road, in the parking lot of St. Dominic Church on the South Side. Fimognari was shot in the head. Her purse was missing, leading police to believe she was a victim of robbery turned deadly.

The case against Houser was turned on a palm print left on the door of Fimognari’s car at the time of her murder. Police checked that print against Houser and found there to be no match.

Gains, during the today's press conference, said two witnesses have come forward saying another man confessed to the murder. That man, 32-year-old Duane Colvin was murdered in September 2011. That murder is still unsolved.

Colvin’s body was exhumed so authorities could compare his palm print to the one left on the door of the car. Gains said police and prosecutors learned earlier this week that the print did in fact match Colvin’s print.

Prosecutors plan to meet with Judge Lou A D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common pleas Court this afternoon to discuss dismissing charges against Houser.

The case has taken many twists and turns over the last two years, including a denied change of venue request from Houser, squabbles between defense attorneys and prosecutors concerning that physical evidence left on the car and retaliation charges against Houser’s parents for threatening witnesses in the case.

John Houser Sr., 48, is currently serving a year in prison for obstruction of justice related to one of the alleged acts of retaliation.

For the complete story, read Friday's Vindicator and Vindy.com


1IMPACT(5 comments)posted 4 years ago

All that remains now is how much to compensate Jamar for his time spent in jail.

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2navygirl(14 comments)posted 4 years ago

If he was so innocent why were his parents threatening witnesses?

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3gingerspice(141 comments)posted 4 years ago

Jamar- this is a sign from GOD!! Second Chance!! If you fail to realize it and take it for granted and continue on a path of destruction, SHAME ON YOU!!! Family- this is your opportunity to follow CHRIST and make a difference! We all have made mistakes in our lives; sin is sin, but you don't have to stay in the muck and mire. Please, consider this a blessing. I would bet that as sad as this situation is for Ms.Fimognari's family, somebody in her family is praying for you Jamar and your family. That's GOD"s LOVE!!!

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4walter_sobchak(2634 comments)posted 4 years ago

Jamar Houser may not be guilty of the murder but he is far from being innocent! He was there and he knows the truth.

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5DwightK(1531 comments)posted 4 years ago

There must be more to this story. Why did it take so long to find and / or process that hand print?

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6MzVirgoLuv(158 comments)posted 4 years ago

Why when 'certain' ppl read this article they have to still bash this young man. He did not kill that lady. Period. For those who prosecuted him before having any proof or any substantial evidence should be ashamed of themselves. It's okay for your certain group to lay blame when there clearly was no blame to be laid, but when you have a guy on 911 tapes calling a young man a 'coon' and then this said young man ends up dead because some huge guy was following him and 'HE' stood his ground and ended up dead, you go straight to the killers defense....wow, have to love the racists of the nation! He is innocent, let it go! The dead man got what he deserved, the same thing he did to that poor innocent lady just coming from praising the Lord.

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7woolyd(579 comments)posted 4 years ago

Well im happy the truth came to light and the man who diddnt kill her wasnt wrongly convicted. Too Colvin payback is a b#%&h!!!!

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8LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago

Because it takes months to process any sort of evidence. Real life isn't a CSI show, it takes more than 60 minutes to perform the proper, legal and scientific evidentiary investigation.

And what in the world does a killing in Florida have to do with this? Are you serious?

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9doowoptokidrock(325 comments)posted 4 years ago

I hope this worthless thug trash Houser meets the same fate Duane Colvin got when he was released from jail.

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10LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago

One month? It takes 60-90 days for drug evidence to be tested at BCI.
"Gains, during the today's press conference, said two witnesses have come forward saying another man confessed to the murder. That man, 32-year-old Duane Colvin was murdered in September 2011. That murder is still unsolved."

Therein lies your two years. Why didn't they come forward when he confessed? Fingerprints, specifically palm prints, mean absolutely nothing when they have nothing to compare it against.

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11DwightK(1531 comments)posted 4 years ago

LawDoc, I understand your point and appreciate the response but this guy was locked up for two years while evidence was being processed. What evidence were they holding him on waiting for trial?

Something isn't right about this story.

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12LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago

There was enough evidence, unbeknownst to us, that kept him incarcerated. Remember that media outlets don't always have 'discovery' during a court proceeding. They only have what is given to them.

I've already answered your 'two years' question.

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13biggee(43 comments)posted 4 years ago

They held houser for two years and were going to try him for capital murder. That's the death penalty right? Now all of a sudden this person whom it was said killed the women and was going to be put to death if the jury found him guilty is freed? The evidence that was there to take him to trial did not change yet Gains said he did not comit the crime. Paul Gains should be held personably responsible for this. Why should the county be on the hook for whatever action will be taken because of this. Sickening !

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14praxis95(51 comments)posted 4 years ago

Ohio revised Code 2923.03 Complicity.

(A) No person, acting with the kind of culpability required for the commission of an offense, shall do any of the following:

(2) Aid or abet another in committing the offense;

if your with someone acting as a look out and they commit an offense, your as guilty as they are.

If you aid the principal offender by concealing their identity or involvement, your complicit.

Ohio Revised code section 2921.32 Obstructing justice.

(A) No person, with purpose to hinder the discovery, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of another for crime or to assist another to benefit from the commission of a crime, and . . . . . . . shall do any of the following:

(1) Harbor or conceal the other person or child;

(2) Provide the other person or child with money, transportation, a weapon, a disguise, or other means of avoiding discovery or apprehension;

(3) Warn the other person or child of impending discovery or apprehension;

(4) Destroy or conceal physical evidence of the crime or act, or induce any person to withhold testimony or information or to elude legal process summoning the person to testify or supply evidence;

(5) Communicate false information to any person;

What about Obstructing Justice, Houser was with the "real killer".

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15bfpeer(32 comments)posted 4 years ago

Sorry truth your facts ARE NOT right either about Zimmerman. He followed the boy after he was instructed not 2. So don't go there.Mz we don't know exactly what Zimmerman actually said but we all know that in Florida you can murder people and get enough media attention and get away with it. In Mahoning County they give people prison time for petty things but if a person off someone they get a slap on the wrist. I don't know how many times I read more jail time for firing a gun than for killing someone. Then everyone wonders why people drop like flies. I just don't get it. I think this kid realized after his friend was found guilty and he sang like canary. He ratted whomever out. If that person was involved! Possible cover up? 1 person already guilty, maybe a conspiracy lol

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16cambridge(3973 comments)posted 4 years ago

It takes two years for a hand print.....in nine months you can make a human being. Just say'n.

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17WHATSSHAKIN(42 comments)posted 4 years ago

It looks like Jamar Houser has fracked the Youngstown Shale and will be in for a huge payoff. Millions will soon be at his disposal.

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18whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years ago

They will slam him on his weapons charge anyway, no saint this guy Houser.

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19Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years ago

Houser isn't innocent by a long shot, but he will have the opportunity to change his thug life. Shall see if we see his name again in the police blotters or the morgue or becoming a productive member of society. Only time will tell.

For the IDIOTS comparing this to the WHITE HISPANIC Zimmerman, are you really that STUPID? No one but Zimmerman and Martin knows what happened that night. Quit being IDIOT media worshipers, your acting like stupid fools!

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20redvert(2231 comments)posted 4 years ago

I think what is unclear here is when the two witnesses came forward to identify the person that supposedly admitted to the crime. If it was just recently, the 2 year time frame could make sense.

That being said, Gains was going to prosecute Houser on first degree murder charges based on what now appears to be circumstantial evidence. Now I do not know anything about the "evidence" Gains had but it sounds like he felt he must get a conviction at all costs. Maybe he thought a high profile conviction like this would of made him look good.

How is that idea working for him now?

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21LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago

A palm print. Just that, a latent palm print. Who here has had their palm prints taken, ever? There is no magical computer that matches a print to anyone. That is the reason they needed to exhume the body and retrieve a palm print from Colvin.

As for the two years, there was enough evidence to have him indicted, go through a preliminary hearing and have a bond, if applicable. As stated before, there may be evidence, either circumstancial or physical that we know nothing about.

Two years ago everyone here called for this guys head, now he'll be a free man and you blame the system? Good thing none of you run the show, way to slam gains too. If you can do a better job, by all means, RUN for the office!

Bunch of bums complaining on here, do some basic law class research and learn something instead of spouting off on something you know nothing about.

I answered the two year issue on my post, it's not my fault you're unable to comprehend what I'm speaking.

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22LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago

Jimmyd, forget the basic law class; hit up an adult English course.

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23JoeFromHubbard(1742 comments)posted 4 years ago

It will all come out in the wash but it'll be a long time going through the wringer.

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24markiemark(11 comments)posted 4 years ago

its youngstown..

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25bfpeer(32 comments)posted 4 years ago

I thonk mysteriously it will be the dead guy's or a magically unicorn. Younhstown already got one person for this case they know that they really don't need another person found guilty for the case. So some magical flys cames forward and said it was some guy who just so happens to get killed. Y-town didn't want to waste their time with another lengthy time. Hrouser has taken enough tax dollars as is. Let's just hope when he is free, someone doesn't end up dead. Them the toothfairy will say Hrouser wasn't there abe lincoln was!

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26LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago

Let that be a public service announcement to stay away from drugs.

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27WHATSSHAKIN(42 comments)posted 4 years ago

In Ohio there is compensation for wrongful imprisonment.


Ohio Man Awarded in Wrongful Imprisonment Case
August 12th, 2008
A man living in Pike County, Ohio was recently awarded in a case involving the murder of his friend.

The man’s conviction was reportedly overturned when he was awarded $600,000 in damages for wrongful imprisonment.

Innocent Man Admits to Murder
Kenneth Moore, 49, admitted to a jury in 1995 that he shot and killed his friend, Darrel Benner, 44, one night while they were drinking.

Since this time, Moore has spent nine years of a 15 years-to-life sentence behind bars for the murder.

Victim Receives Compensation
Moore’s case was recently overturned by an appeals court who found that the lawyers working for him did not inform him of favorable evidence at the time of the trial.

As a result, he was tried once again and found to be innocent of the murder that took his friend’s life.

Moore was awarded statutory damages of $44, 204 for each year he spent in jail along with $106, 764 in legal fees and $80,817 for lost wages.

(Source: The Columbus Dispatch)

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28LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago


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29LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years ago

You really don't know how the judicial system works at all, do you?

There was enough evidence there to file charges, indict him and set the case for trial.
Do you comprehend that, EVIDENCE.

It seems to me you figure if it's not on vindy, it didn't happen. Get real.

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30walter_sobchak(2634 comments)posted 4 years ago

You make excellent, valid points about this case. Obviously, there was sufficient evidence to have the court indict Houser and remand him to the sheriff. It seemed logical that a case built on evidence of circumstance would take much investigation to get the prosecution's case lined up properly. A two year period led me to believe the prosecution was having trouble doing this and certainly this palm print had to be a sticking point. These two "witnesses" had this knowledge for some time but only now came forward. This tells me that these "witnesses" are themselves suspects in some other case and they used this knowledge to help themselves. But, this is the way it works in a community that has "certain" people.

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31bfpeer(32 comments)posted 4 years ago

Oops the word is think not thonk. There is no such word as thonk. Too bad we can't edit old post.

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32mrblue(1175 comments)posted 4 years ago

Does anyone really believe that this guy is going to turn his life around? He is a career criminal and why? Just look at his family. He will be back in jail very soon. I am sure that there is a lot more to this story that has yet to come out. Stay tuned.

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33southsidedave(5185 comments)posted 4 years ago

So we will blame the murder of Angeline Fimognari on another man who in the meantime was also murdered. Nice job by prosecutors office - a real joke.

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34AnotherAverageCitizen(1183 comments)posted 4 years ago

Good thing Colvin's body was not cremated.

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35navygirl(14 comments)posted 4 years ago

I just hope no one else gets murdered at the hands of this man who should be in jail. Instead he'll walk the streets, doubtful he'll change his life.

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36dateline111(41 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

Whenever a white person is killed and arrest is made immediately. This is simply a case of arresting a black man with a criminal record to appease the whites.I posted Houser was innocent as soon as he was arrested. Has YPD arrested anyone in the 12 murders so far this year?

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37woolyd(579 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

According to jimmyd if there is no suspect lets just find the nearest fool walking down the street and prosecute him, afterall he must be guilty. Yep thats CJ101....smh

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38CCmom(31 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

Someone explain to me how the grand jury felt there was enough evidence to indict Houser on but yet now all of a sudden he's totally innocent of the crime? If he was at the scene isn't he just as guilty as Duane Covin?
He won't stay out of the news long. He'll be back to his old ways of breaking and entering. Of course his juvenile records aren't public.
Way to go Mr. Gains and your office.
Another bungled investigation.

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39Militaryman4rmYO(7 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

Glad to see an innocent man set free! he may have a criminal background, but i have seen many people make mistakes and turn their lives around....IT'S POSSIBLE! i'm actually one of them, now i'm serving this "great" country of ours! Hope to see Houser prove doubters wrong and actually turn his life around...

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40southsidedave(5185 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

The laws clearly state: Innocent until proven guilty. Sometimes good, sometimes not.

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41AngelWoodall(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Duane Colvin was involved, along with someone else. Colvin has his palm print on car. I find that diffcult to shot, put a palm print on a car and steal her purse. He went to rob her with other accomplices, He stole the purse, and they shot Angeline. Duane was set up. He was going to tell who shot her and now he is dead.

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