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Trumbull prosecutor opposes release of Howland rapist, Campbell killer

Published: Fri, November 29, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Ed Runyan



Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins for a second time is opposing parole for John Whisonant, who has served 281/2 years in prison on four counts of rape and one of gross sexual imposition.

Whisonant, 58, formerly of Niles Road, Howland, received a prison term of 21 to 75 years in 1985 and was last denied parole in early 2010. His next parole hearing will be in December.

A letter Watkins wrote to the parole board says Whisonant raped his children, age 9, 7, 6 and 5. Prosecutors dropped charges involving a fifth child, 4.

Marcia Tiger, former executive director of Trumbull County Children Services, wrote in 2010 that the offenses had a “far-reaching effect” on all five of his children, who are now in their 30s.

“They grew up fearful and distrusting, sexualized and hungry for emotional attention,” and the abuse “distorted their view of the world and all of the relationships they have experienced since.”

Watkins says that if current law were in effect when Whisonant committed his crimes, he probably would have gotten life in prison with no parole.

“To say this offender is a danger to society is an understatement,” Watkins said.

Watkins also opposes parole for John L. Lysikowski II, 53, who was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in October 1987 for killing Randy J. Nicholson of Delaware Avenue, Warren. Lysikowski, formerly of Campbell and Weathersfield Township, has served 25 years in prison.

Lysikowski was 27 and Nicholson 26 on June 20, 1987, when Lysikowski stabbed Nicholson to death on Clearfield Avenue in Weathersfield Township. Lysikowski pleaded guilty to murder.

Among the reasons Watkins opposes Lysikowski’s parole is his conduct when he was released from prison in 2007.

“By my calculations, this guy went back to prison in 2007 for violating his parole at least a dozen times in five months, and upon returning to prison, he has managed to have violated prison rules in every year since his return.”

Watkins added, “It appears the [Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections] can’t find a forever home for this guy. And I can’t blame prison officials for wanting to get rid of this man, but the general community is not the place for him.

“He has killed two persons and is serving a life sentence,” Watkins said, referring to another death for which he was not convicted. “You released him once, and he was a walking crime wave.”

Watkins included copies of reports from Youngstown police with his letter showing incidents that led to Lysikowski’s return to prison in 2007.

They included two assaults on his fiance on West Glenaven Avenue.


1southsidedave(5166 comments)posted 1 year, 12 months ago

These 2 men should remain in prison...enough said

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2Groovethang(32 comments)posted 1 year, 12 months ago

On behalf of the citizens of the Mahoning Valley, I would like to thank Prosecutor Watkins and his staff for the extra effort taken to vehemently, passionately, and consistently oppose the release of convicted felons such as the two in this story. It would be easy for him to sit back and do nothing when these sociopaths come up for a parole hearing and quite frankly, 99% of us would never know the difference. The streets are dangerous enough. We certainly don't need the likes of these two characters back in our communities. It's impossible to measure the impact of what criminal acts didn't happen because of Watkins efforts to keep these felons incarcerated where they belong. But it's safe to say that if even one less murder or one less rape occurred, it was well worth his efforts. Since behavior tends to repeat itself, it likely several less murders and several less rapes have occurred because of Watkins efforts.

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