Man accused of obstruction in homeless man’s murder

By Joe Gorman


Two men were arraigned Monday involving their suspected roles in the death of a homeless man last week.

Jayjuane Hardy, 40, is in Mahoning County jail on a $750,000 bond after he was arraigned before Magistrate Anthony Sertick of Youngstown Municipal Court on a charge of aggravated murder in the death late Wednesday of 55-year-old Jerry Syster.

Arraigned on a charge of obstruction of justice was 52-year-old Robert Reed. His bond was set at $75,000, and he also is in jail.

Both Reed and Hardy are homeless, as was Syster.

Police say Syster got into an argument with Hardy on Wednesday evening that led to a fight in which Syster was knocked unconscious and fell into a puddle of water, where he drowned.

Someone found Syster face down in the puddle behind the parking lots on Front Street in downtown Youngstown and had a woman walking her dog flag down police.

Hardy was questioned by detectives Friday afternoon and arrested after the interview. Reed also was arrested Friday.

Capt. Brad Blackburn, chief of detectives, said Reed was not truthful when police asked him about the death. Blackburn would not go into detail about how Reed misled police, however.

Municipal-court records show several misdemeanor cases filed against Reed since 1997.

Syster’s death was the fourth homicide in Youngstown this year. The city had recorded six homicides at this time last year. In 2013, the city had 20 homicides.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.