Youngstown police still unsure what triggered fatal Shirley Road dispute

By Joe Gorman


Police say they still do not know what triggered an argument that led to the beating death of a 70-year-old man early Thursday.

Capt. Brad Blackburn, chief of detectives, said Friday that investigators still have not learned from 33-year-old Leo Kellish what triggered a dispute that led to the death of Dennis Simmons.

Kellish is charged with aggravated murder and was arraigned Friday before Municipal Judge Elizabeth Kobly, who set his bond at $1 million.

“We know this was not a random act,” Blackburn said. “We don’t know exactly what prompted it.”

Kellish and Simmons have known each other for a long time, Blackburn said.

Officers were called to a home in the 2400 block of Shirley Road about 3:20 a.m. Thursday for a report of a man lying in a driveway. When they arrived, they found Simmons unresponsive, naked and covered in blood.

Kellish came outside also covered in blood and wearing nothing but boxer shorts and told an officer he acted in self-defense. He was held at gunpoint until he was handcuffed, and he was later taken to the jail.

During his arraignment via video hookup from the jail, Kellish tried to tell Judge Kobly that he acted in self-defense, but she told him to be quiet because anything he said could be used against him at a later date.

City Prosecutor Dana Lantz asked Judge Kobly for a high bond, saying that Kellish has a prior record for domestic violence and for a charge of harassment by an inmate when he was housed at the jail on previous charges. Kellish told Judge Kobly that he had worked at a restaurant and was about to start a construction job but he had no money for a lawyer. Judge Kobly appointed a lawyer for him.

Lantz said Kellish used Simmons’ home as his address but that Kellish also told police he chose to be homeless. Lantz said it is unclear yet if Simmons was dead when he was thrown outside or if he was unconscious from the beating when he was thrown outside.

Simmons’ death is the 17th homicide in the city this year. In 2012 at this time, Youngstown had 26 homicides, which was the total the city had for the year.

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