The man accused of being the driver of the getaway car during a Boardman home invasion will be arraigned tonight on a murder charge.
Police say Brandon Hosa, 28, of Canfield, was the driver in the Tuesday home invasion at 5011 Lockwood Blvd. during which Hosa’s alleged accomplice, Michael A. Spera, 38, of Youngstown, was shot fatally by the 44-year-old homeowner, Kevin Neal.
Under the felony murder rule, all participants of a felony can be charged with murder if a homicide occurs. This is true even if a participant isn’t directly responsible for the death.
Neal, who says he fired in self- defense, hasn’t been charged.
Police said Hosa parked in the driveway while Spera walked to the back of Neal’s house, threw an object through the back sliding door and entered.
Neal told police that Spera came at him with a knife. Spera was found in the kitchen with multiple gunshot wounds. The Mahoning County Coroner’s office did an autopsy Wednesday and ruled Spera’s death a homicide, but continues to investigate.
Boardman police Capt. Donald Hawkins said it’s unknown if Spera and Hosa were aware that Neal was home at the time.
Another question is the relationship between the men and “what led up to this because [Spera and Neal] definitely knew each other,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins described them as possible “business associates,” but did not elaborate.
In 2011, Neal sought a civil protection order from Spera, writing that Spera “keeps threatening myself and gets jealous and threatens my friends if they don’t give money or household items, balls up (a) fist as if to strike or says he’s been in prison and willing to go back. ... [Spera] pointed a gun at me.”
The protection order was served, but the case eventually was dismissed when Neal did not attend a hearing about the protection order and Spera was present, according to court records.
The Vindicator tried unsuccessfully to reach Neal by phone Wednesday.
In the past, Spera had been charged with robbery, felony drug possession, domestic violence and falsification. Boardman police reports name him in several incident reports in which Neal said he was threatened.
Hosa has been charged with burglary five times in the past decade. In addition to the murder charge, Hosa also is charged with resisting arrest, obstructing official business and complicity to aggravated burglary in connection with Tuesday’s shooting.
Hosa’s vehicle was blocked in the driveway by a school bus that was, by chance, dropping off students at the same time police arrived, reports stated. Hosa fled on foot, and police used a stun gun to apprehend him.
Neal does not have a criminal history in Mahoning County.
Hawkins said two guns were recovered at Neal’s home, and it is unclear if one or both were used. A kitchen knife also was recovered near Spera’s hand, reports stated.
Hawkins said the last homicide in Boardman occurred in 2004 when a man fatally stabbed his wife at their Oakley Avenue home.