Judge shaves two years off man's sentence

By joe gorman



A Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge shaved two years off the sentence of a man Friday who survived a 2008 fire that killed six of his family members.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum amended an eight-year sentence he gave 22-year- old Julius Crawford in April 2011 to six years after a request by Crawford’s lawyer.

Judge Krichbaum sentenced Crawford for a Nov. 25 attack on his then 17-year-old girlfriend in which she was severely beaten. A plea agreement called for a sentence of six years for the charges of aggravated burglary and felonious assault.

Judge Krichbaum, however, handed down an eight-year prison term.

Tony Meranto, Crawford’s lawyer, said after the hearing ended they advised the judge that the agreement called for a six-year sentence instead of the eight-year term, but the order was not amended until Friday.

Nick Brevetta, an assistant county prosecutor, said he was sure the error was unintentional. Judge Krichbaum said his notes concurred that the original agreement called for six years, and he amended the sentence.

“The court feels it’s bound by the deal the same as everyone else is,” Judge Krichbaum said.

Crawford is a survivor of a Jan. 23, 2008, fire at his former Stewart Avenue home on the East Side that killed his sister, his mother, and his sister’s four children.

The fire was ruled an arson. A neighbor, Michael Davis, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors and police said the blaze was started because of a dispute over a cellphone.

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