By Ed Runyan
A Trumbull County grand jury indicted a Warren woman on charges in the death of her friend at a birthday party and a Niles man, who often posed as Santa Claus, on numerous pornography charges.
The grand jury Wednesday indicted Lakeisha Bell, 19, of Williamsburg Street Northwest, on murder and other crimes in the death of her friend, McKayla Hopkins, 18, at a Packard Park birthday party Aug. 2.
If convicted, Bell could get a life prison sentence with parole eligibility after 15 years. She’s also charged with involuntary manslaughter, carrying concealed weapons, tampering with evidence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Hopkins was part of a group of people celebrating Bell’s birthday when Bell fired a shot that hit Hopkins in the torso.
Bell’s attorney, Mark Hanni, said recently at a hearing in Warren Municipal Court that the shooting was an accident.
Bell is charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon because she earlier was charged with a felony, though that case has not been completed.
Police found her at 2:30 a.m. April 19 near the scene of a purse theft at the Pit Stop gas station on Youngstown Road Southeast.
They found suspected crack cocaine in Bell’s possession and items taken from the purse. She later was indicted on felony cocaine trafficking and cocaine possession charges.
The grand jury also indicted William F. Brock, 65, of Mason Street, Niles, on pornography charges that could produce a prison sentence of more than 100 years.
Brock, who neighbors said sometimes identifies himself as Santa Claus, was indicted on 35 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.
Sixteen of the counts call for a possible prison penalty of eight years, the other 19 counts call for a prison term of up to 18 months.
Brock was arrested when agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crimes Against Children Unit conducted a raid at his home July 19.
Brock has a white beard and was wearing red pants when he was arrested. Bell and Brock will be arraigned Wednesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.