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Felonious assault trial gets underway

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


The jury trial for a man charged with hitting another man over the head with a baseball bat during a family dispute in 2012 is underway this week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Kory Jackson, 25, of Sarna Drive, appeared before Judge Lou A D’Apolito on a single charge of felonious assault.

Jackson was to be tried in conjunction with his 30-year-old brother, Kenneth Jackson, on the same charge, but prosecutors and defense attorneys still are working on a potential plea agreement for Kenneth Jackson.

Jeffrey Davis, an assistant county prosecutor, and James Lanzo Sr., representing Jackson, spent Monday morning selecting a jury to hear the case. By noon, a panel of five men and seven women with two alternates had been selected.

Opening statements were given Monday afternoon.

Davis told jurors the Jackson brothers each hit the father of Kenneth Jackson’s girlfriend, Raphael Rodriguez, over the head with a baseball bat in February 2012. The victim recovered and is expected to testify at the trial.

“The evidence will show that Raphael Rodriguez never saw the first shot coming but he definitely saw the last one,” said Davis.

According to Davis, Rodriguez and his wife went to the home Kenneth Jackson shared with their daughter and granddaughter in the midst of an argument between Kenneth Jackson and his girlfriend. Kory Jackson and other relatives also came to the house.

Davis said there was a huge argument between the families until someone took the daughter of Kenneth Jackson and the girlfriend and headed to a different house close by.

“After that, everyone left or so they thought, but Kenneth Jackson came back into the house and kept arguing with Raphael Rodriguez, ... Raphael Rodriguez was cracked in the back of the head with a baseball bat,” said Davis.

Davis said Kenneth Jackson hit the man first, knocking him to the ground, then Kory Jackson came in, saw the situation and hit the wounded man again.

Lanzo said the tale of events is partially accurate up until the part about his client hitting Rodriguez with the bat. He said Kory Jackson left the house before the attack and did not return.

“Did someone else hit Mr. Rodriguez? I don’t know that. Was he hit again? I don’t know that,” said Lanzo. “Kory Jackson was not there. That is our whole argument. He didn’t do it. He was not there.”

Lanzo said there is a list of people who will testify as to Jackson’s actual whereabouts at the time of the attack.