Murder suspect asks to be released from jail until trial

Murder suspect asks to be released from jail until trial

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


A 24-year-old man awaiting trial in a 2010 homicide is asking a common pleas judge to release him on bond so he can tend to the needs of his pregnant girlfriend.

Elijah Alexander, 24, of Youngstown is charged with murder in the death of Rodney Weaver during a robbery on the city’s North Side.

Weaver, 25, of Catalina Avenue, was pronounced dead at St. Elizabeth Health Center just before 10 p.m. Jan. 12, 2010. He was found on the ground in front of a Lexington Avenue home, covered in blood from a gunshot wound, according to Vindicator files.

Another man, 26-year-old Thomas Wright of Youngstown, already has been convicted for his role in the death and is serving a 10-year sentence.

Jennifer McLaughlin, an assistant county prosecutor, said Alexander initially posted $10,000 of a $100,000 bond and was released from the Mahoning County jail on electronically monitored house arrest, but was arrested for violating his monitoring by leaving the residence without permission. He has been in the county jail since December.

McLaughlin, in a letter asking the court to revoke Alexander’s bond in 2012, listed nearly a dozen times when Alexander was away from his home with permission from the court.

Atty. J. Gerald Ingram, representing Alexander, asked he court to reinstate Alexander’s bond — saying his client did not commit any new crimes while out on bond, was not engaged in any improper conduct and did not attempt to contact any witnesses associated with the case.

Ingram also told the court that Alexander’s fiancee is pregnant and has experienced some distress. He said his client would like to be part of the birthing process.

Alexander, Ingram said, would reside with his mother if released from the county jail.

McLaughlin concedes that Alexander did not break any laws while out on bond, but she said it must be made clear that he has to follow the terms and conditions of the court.

“He just kept violating his EMHA by not being at his home where he is supposed to be,” she said. “He wasn’t out committing new crimes. ... Hopefully the four months he has been sitting has gotten through the point that you cannot violate these terms and conditions.”

McLaughlin said she is not opposed to Alexander being released on bond, but will ask the court for a higher bond amount before that happens.

Alexander is set for trial July 8 before Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

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