By Joe Gorman
A man who spent more than two years in the Mahoning County jail for a murder authorities later said he didn’t commit is locked up again.
Jamar Houser, 22, who has a Columbus address, was arrested after his arraignment Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on the charge of retaliation. He is in the county jail.
A grand jury returned the indictment against him on that charge June 13. He has a pretrial hearing Tuesday before Judge Maureen A. Sweeney.
Rebecca Doherty, an assistant county prosecutor, said Houser is accused of threatening a witness in the case for which he originally was jailed.
It is the same witness his parents threatened and for which they received probation.
Houser was the prime suspect in the Jan. 23, 2010, murder of Angeline Fimognari, 80, of Sheridan Road, in the parking lot of St. Dominic Church on the South Side. She was shot in the head. Her purse was missing, leading police to believe she was a robbery victim.
Houser was arrested a few days after the crime and charged with her death. He remained in jail awaiting trial until May 2012, when prosecutors said they had evidence that pointed to someone else having killed Fimognari.
The prosecutor’s office dropped the charges, and Houser was released.
A Youngstown police report states that a 24-year-old man told officers he and Houser got in a fight at a party in the 1100 block of East Midlothian Boulevard on May 9.
The witness told police his cousin had provided investigators with information in the Fimognari case and he, in turn, was threatened.
According to police reports, the victim said Houser had thrown a bottle of pop into his car and threatened him, saying, “I’m going to get you.”
Houser was driven away by his friends, and the victim told police he wished to pursue charges because of Houser’s past history, according to police reports.
His father and mother were each also charged with intimidating a witness during the Fimognari investigation — the same person who accused Jamar Houser of threatening him May 9.
Police arrested the parents, John Houser and Frances Cianciola, a couple of weeks later on the intimidation charge after Fimognari’s death.
John Houser pleaded guilty and was given probation, but he ended up serving a 10-month prison sentence when he violated his probation. Cianciola also received probation after she pleaded guilty.