Youngstown man refuses plea deal, set for Monday trial

Staff report


James L. Patterson, 27, of Division Street in Youngstown, one of two people charged in the April 2012 overdose death of 17-year-old Christine M. Sheesley of Girard, publicly refused a plea agreement Thursday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

That means Patterson goes on trial Monday in the courtroom of Judge Ronald Rice on charges of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of corrupting another with drugs, three counts of heroin trafficking and single counts of cocaine possession and tampering with evidence.

Chuck Morrow, assistant county prosecutor, told Judge Rice he has offered Patterson an agreement calling for 10 years in prison if he pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter and several other charges, including drug trafficking.

If Patterson is convicted, he could be facing 40 years in prison, Morrow said.

“You’re looking at some serious time,” Judge Rice told Patterson, asking him whether he understood what was being offered and whether he still wanted to take the case to trial.

After consulting privately with his attorney, James E. Lanzo, the two told Judge Rice they were refusing the plea agreement and would go to trial.

Patterson was arrested at a car wash in Girard on May 24, 2012, along with two other males who police say were conducting a drug deal.

That’s when police zeroed in on Patterson in relation to Sheesley’s death, Girard police said.

Sheesley was a junior at Girard High School on April 6, 2012, when she overdosed on heroin and died on her birthday at the home of a friend, Tyler S. Stevens, 19.

Stevens pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, heroin trafficking and permitting drug abuse late last year and will be sentenced later.

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