Accused rapist back behind bars

Accused rapist back behind bars

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


A Youngstown man charged with rape and other crimes is back in the Mahoning County jail after violating terms of his bond by making a grocery delivery to the accuser’s home shortly after being released from the jail.

Newell Spann, 34, of Helena Avenue, is charged with rape, kidnapping and aggravated burglary.

He was arrested July 23, 2011, after a 36-year-old woman he had dated accused him of raping her shortly after she came home about 11:20 p.m.

Spann had been home on a personal recognizance bond and electronic house arrest while awaiting his trial date, but after appearing before Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for a bond- violation hearing, Spann is back in the county jail.

Prosecutors say Spann, having been released from the jail just three weeks ago, appeared at the door of the accuser’s home carrying groceries for her children.

Atty. John Juhasz, representing Spann, told the court the trip to the accuser’s house was not an intelligent move, but his client meant no harm.

“I am not going to award Mr. Spann the ‘smartest guy getting out of jail’ award because what he did was foolish,” said Juhasz. “It is clear what he was doing was attempting to give gifts to these children as he had been doing.”

Juhasz said Spann went to a nearby convenience store, purchased the groceries and took them to the home. The accuser was not home, but someone else in the house took the items.

Nicholas Brevetta, an assistant county prosecutor, said the prosecutor’s office believes Spann had much more sinister motives in making the trip to the woman’s home.

“The intent in contacting the victim here is the interference with this case,” said Brevetta.

Judge Durkin clearly took issue with Spann’s visit to the woman’s home. The judge asked how Spann was able to make the purchase and go to the house if he is being monitored electronically.

“The order says there is to be no contact with the victim pending the outcome of this case. ... A judgment entry when put on has to mean something,” said Judge Durkin. “Going over to the victim’s house is beyond stupid. ... It is a direct violation of my order.”

Judge Durkin ordered Spann taken back into custody and held pending trial. He said a new date will be set as soon as possible.

Spann has another case pending in the court as well. He is charged with felonious assault in a case where Brevetta said he was involved in a fight at a gas station and broke another man’s nose.

Prosecutors say Spann also has had domestic- violation issues in the past involving family members.

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