By Joe Gorman
The lead detective in a 2011 South Side homicide testified under cross-examination that none of the 15 or 20 witnesses he spoke to before Lamar Reese was indicted knew of any connection between him and the victim.
Additionally, Youngstown Police Detective Sgt. Ronald Rodway said Friday in the aggravated murder and aggravated robbery trial of Reese, 21, that one of the main witnesses he interviewed changed his story three times before the indictment was filed against Reese and 21-year-old Frankie “Tank” Hudson in the Sept. 16, 2011, shooting death of 17-year-old Josh Davis on a front porch at 135 Willis Ave.
Testimony in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court began Tuesday and took a day off Thursday. Judge Maureen Sweeney is hearing the case.
Reese and Hudson originally were to be tried together, but Judge Sweeney severed the trials. Hudson is expected to be tried shortly after Reese’s case is completed.
Defense attorney Mark Lavelle asked Rodway if any of the people he had spoken to before the indictment was filed in August said that Reese and Davis were friends. Rodway said no.
Rodway also said the indictment came after talking to Hudson’s half brother, who was interviewed three times by police, the first time a couple of days after the homicide when it was learned the last call on Davis’ phone just before he was shot came from Aaron Triplett.
Rodway twice interviewed Triplett, who denied his involvement, but his tone changed after Hudson implicated Triplett in Davis’ death.
Rodway said in response to a question from Lavelle that he did allow Triplett to review Hudson’s statement before Triplett gave his version of events. That interview took place in June 2013, Rodway said.
The motive for Davis’ death was robbery. Rodway testified that Davis was a marijuana dealer and that Triplett, Hudson, Reese, Jerome Miller and another person who was not identified wanted to rob Davis of his marijuana, but he ended up being killed.
Miller was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Coconut Grove bar on South Avenue in October 2011.
Rodway said Triplett told police he was there and was carrying a 9 mm pistol, but that it was Reese and Hudson who shot Davis. Police found a 9 mm shell casing on the front porch where Davis was killed.
Triplett said in his statement to Rodway that Reese was carrying a rifle, but the only rifle in the case was a similar rifle found in Davis’ bedroom, and it was determined not to be used in his death.
Also testifying was Dr. Joseph Ohr, deputy county coroner and forensic pathologist, who explained how Davis died and how the death was ruled a homicide.