Jury selection begins in inmate’s case


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Jury selection is under way in the assault trial of a 30-year-old man accused of stabbing a guard in the Ohio State Penitentiary where he is serving a 97-year prison term.

Cornelius Harris of Hamilton County is on trial in the courtroom of Judge Elizabeth Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Harris and prosecutors began the jury-selection process Tuesday morning.

Harris was set for trial last week, but that was postponed after he informed the court that he wanted to fire his attorney, Mark Lavelle, and represent himself. Harris was permitted to represent himself and given until Tuesday to prepare. Lavelle will serve as his advisor during the trial.

According to a 2009 indictment, Harris attempted to cause the death of a corrections officer in the prison. He already is serving a 97-year prison term for vandalism, aggravated robbery, robbery, felonious assault and judicial sanctions.

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