Mental exam OK’d for suspect in Youngstown boy's murder

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


The mental competency of a city man facing the death penalty in connection with the murder of an 8-year-old boy will be checked before he reaches his trial date.

A tearful and obviously emotional Shawn Wilson appeared before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing.

Wilson remains in the Mahoning County jail on a $5 million bond. He is charged with the murder of Bryce Linebaugh on the East Side earlier this year.

Wilson, 21, of Browning Avenue, was indicted on an aggravated murder charge with death-penalty specifications.

He is also facing two counts of improperly firing a gun into a home, one count of felonious assault with a gun specification, and tampering with evidence.

Wilson was also indicted on a lesser charge of murder that carries a 15-years-to-life sentence.

Bryce Linebaugh was killed in the early-morning hours of Aug. 20 as he slept in a bunk bed at his Maplewood Court home in Rockford Village.

Police recovered what is believed to be the murder weapon in a wooded area next to Wilson’s Browning Avenue residence shortly after the shooting.

City prosecutors, during Wilson’s initial arraignment, said Wilson told an individual with whom he had a disagreement that he would come back and shoot up a house.

They contend Wilson did just that, leading to the death of Linebaugh.

Attorney Ronald Yarwood, representing Wilson, requested the mental competency evaluation.

The request was granted with the use of a medical doctor of the defense’s choosing.

The jury draw for the capital case is set for Nov. 20 and the trial has been set for Jan. 14.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys say they are ready to proceed in January pending the outcome of the mental competency evaluation.

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