Man pleads guilty in 2011 shooting
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
A 27-year-old city man could spend the next 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to felonious- assault charges associated with the shooting of another man in a housing development in 2011.
Darius Easterly, of Covington Street, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Judge James Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to felonious assault, illegal possession of a weapon, trafficking in heroin and receiving stolen property. He was indicted on the charges last year.
Easterly had been set for trial but opted instead to enter into a plea deal with prosecutors. Prosecutors will recommend a seven-year sentence in exchange for the guilty plea, but the final decision rests with the judge.
Easterly is accused of chasing Clifford Cross through a North Side housing development in early 2011, firing multiple shots and hitting the man four times. Cross was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, so he actually was hit by only two of the bullets; the other two lodged in the vest.
The entire incident was captured on video-surveillance cameras in the development.
Jennifer McLaughlin, an assistant county prosecutor, said the case against Easterly is strong, but the prosecutor’s office has no problem with his pleading guilty as charged.
“We didn’t amend or replace any charges. If he is willing to come in and plead guilty as charged, then we are wiling to do that,” she said.
The victim in the case is willing to testify, but also has had issues with the law. He is in the Mahoning County jail on felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon.