Co-defendant in murder case takes the stand
Police believe only two people were present when 30-year-old Randy Cappelli was gunned down on New Year’s Day 2011.
On Thursday, one of those men was on the stand in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court pointing a finger at Daro Correa as the triggerman.
Cappelli was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds, including at least one in the head, about 4:40 a.m. after police were called to the 1000 block of Shady Run Road on the South Side because of reports of gunfire.
Correa, 22, of Syracuse, N.Y., is on trial for the killing. Testimony resumes today.
His co-defendant, 32- year-old Emmanuel Dawson, took the stand to recount what took place in the moments just before Cappelli was killed.
Dawson is in the county jail on felony charges of tampering with evidence in connection with the case.
Dawson was escorted into the courtroom of Judge John M. Durkin by sheriff’s department deputies. He did not acknowledge his one-time friend seated at the defendant’s table.
When questioned by Nicholas Brevetta, an assistant county prosecutor, Dawson told the court he was with Correa and Cappelli the night of the shooting and witnessed the two men in a heated argument. He said the two men got out of the car all three were in and he heard a series of gunshots.
Dawson said Cappelli fell to the ground, and he saw Correa holding a firearm.
Atty. Mark Carfolo, representing Correa, asked Dawson if he appeared in court in an effort to take attention away from himself. Dawson said he was not lying in his testimony but does have a self-serving motive.
“Ultimately, I am here because I felt like somebody was setting me up, so I had to make a statement, but I am not lying,” he said. “I got to get myself out of harm’s way.”
Carfolo reminded Dawson about a letter he sent to Correa after the shooting wherein he said neither of the men had committed the crime.
Dawson said he sent the letter to Correa at a time of personal conflict.
“I was torn between two decisions, pacing my cell at night trying to decide what to do, not wanting to be a rat,” he said.
When Carfolo asked why he did not go to police immediately after the killing, Dawson, who was on parole in Michigan at the time, said he would have been in violation of parole for leaving the state and did not want to face charges for that violation.
Youngstown Detective Sgt. Darrell Martin testified police traveled to Michigan after the slaying to speak with Dawson, who offered a statement identical to the testimony given in court.