Two charged in East Side slaying

By Joe Gorman


Akeem Brown walked out of municipal court Thursday after waiving a preliminary hearing in a drug case.

He’ll be back in court today, this time to be arraigned on a murder charge.

Brown, 26, of Shady Run Road, and Destaney Phillips, 21, were charged Thursday in the July 15 homicide of Anthony Bianco, 51, of Stevenson Road, Masury.

Bianco was found in a burning car at Knapp and Seifert avenues on the East Side about 1 p.m. July 15. An autopsy later revealed he had been shot to death. Investigators still have not released how his car caught fire.

Lt. Doug Bobovnyik, a supervisor in the detective bureau, did not want to say much about why police believe Phillips and Brown are responsible for Bianco’s death, other than prosecutors thought detectives had enough evidence to get warrants for them.

Brown was arrested July 27 on a drug-trafficking charge after vice-squad officers investigating drug activity served a search warrant at his home. Inside, police found $1,000 in cash, a .30-06 rifle, a .22-caliber handgun, small amounts of suspected cocaine and heroin and a large bag of suspected marijuana in his freezer.

He was released on bond after his arraignment in that case and was in court Thursday before Judge Elizabeth Kobly for a preliminary hearing. He waived that hearing, and Judge Kobly bound his case over to a grand jury. A couple of hours later, U.S. marshals arrested him at his home on the aggravated-murder warrant.

Phillips is in the Mahoning County jail for a probation violation from a Feb. 17 resisting-arrest conviction in municipal court. At the time, she was sentenced to 40 days in jail with credit for 31 days served. A warrant was issued June 1 for her arrest on the violation, but court records do not specify the violation. She was taken into custody July 28, court and jail records show.

Brown also was accused of holding police at bay in December at his home after a woman complained Brown held her against her will after accusing her of stealing jewelry and forced her to perform sex acts at gunpoint.

As a SWAT team was on its way to the home after Brown held off police for more than a half-hour, he surrendered. Inside, police found 23 pills, four large bags of suspected marijuana and a semiautomatic handgun.

In that case, common pleas court records show he was granted a hearing for an intervention-in-lieu-of-conviction plea on charges of rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and possession of drugs, but the hearing has not taken place. He has a pretrial hearing in that case Sept. 2.

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