Jury finds Niles man guilty of assaulting, kidnapping girlfriend

By Ed Runyan



After one hour of deliberations Tuesday, a jury found Derrick L. Cobb of Niles guilty in the Dec. 20 felonious assault and kidnapping of a former girlfriend.

Cobb, 51, of Difford Drive, will learn his sentence in about five weeks, after the Trumbull County Adult Probation Department conducts a pre-sentence investigation. The trial took place in the courtroom of Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Deborah Roberts of Warren testified Monday that broken ribs, a broken nose and bruising resulted from a beating she took from Cobb at Cobb’s brother’s house on Delaware Avenue Southwest.

Cobb testified Tuesday to say that he was not the person who attacked Roberts, 43. Cobb said he kicked her out of the house after a day of drinking and doing drugs and didn’t see her again for a couple of days.

Cobb was accused of hitting and stomping on Roberts and holding her against her will for two hours. He could get 18 years in prison.

Dr. Marc Saunders, trauma surgeon at ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital, testified that tests on Roberts showed the presence of alcohol, cocaine and other drugs in her system Dec. 21 when she came to the hospital for her injuries.

She remained in the hospital for two to three days, Dr. Saunders said, adding that she was prescribed painkillers and physical therapy to help her improve her walking ability after the assault.

Diane Barber, assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, and defense attorney John Fowler both asked Dr. Saunders questions about photographs of Roberts’ injuries, in an attempt to establish whether they came from an assault just a few hours earlier or were days old.

Most of the injuries were dark or red in color, some with swelling, some with blood, indicating fresh injuries, Dr. Saunders said.

When Cobb took the stand, he described Dec. 20, a Tuesday, from early morning until about midnight. Cobb and Roberts had been dating for about three months at the time, he said.

The couple and Cobb’s brother drank beer early in the day when Cobb’s brother came home from work.

In the afternoon, the couple drank a bottle of gin, then had beers at another house about 3 p.m., followed by cocaine and then back to the house for a beer and more cocaine. Roberts took some pills, her speech got slurred and she became argumentive, so Cobb pushed her out the door, he said.

She pounded on the door for several minutes, then walked away on Oak Street — the last time he saw her, Cobb said.

She went to the hospital about 5 a.m. the next morning after Roberts walked to a house on Hamilton Street Southwest and told an ex-boyfriend that Cobb had assaulted her.

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