Two arraigned for July murder on East Side


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Investigators said Friday the suspect in the death of a Masury man in July went to a court just after he killed him.

Akeem Brown, 26, of Shady Run Road, and Destaney Phillips, 21, were both arraigned Friday before Judge Robert Milich in municipal court on charges of aggravated murder in the death of Anthony Bianco, 51.

Bianco was found about 12:50 p.m. July 15 in a burning car at Seifert and Knapp avenues on the East Side. An autopsy found he had been shot to death.

Detective Sgt. Rick Spotleson, the lead investigator on the case, said Bianco was killed over a debt he owed to Brown and Phillips. Spotleson said just after Bianco was killed, Brown was in the courtroom of Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where he had a pretrial hearing on rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and drug charges from a December arrest where he was free on bond.

Brown also was arrested July 27 by vice-squad officers serving a search warrant at his home on drug and weapons charges, and he posted bond in that case as well. On Thursday in municipal court, he waived a preliminary hearing in that case and agreed to allow it to be bound over to a grand jury. Also free on bond in that case, he was arrested hours later at his home on the murder warrant by U.S. marshals.

Spotleson said the two arranged to meet Bianco on the East Side and killed him. The car fire was not arson, Spotleson said. He said Bianco was shot in the front seat of his car while it was in the road and the engine was still running. With the car in gear, it drifted to the side of the road, and after the motor had been running for a while, it caught the grass on fire where the car was resting, which in turn spread to the engine compartment before engulfing the car in flames.

Phillips already was in custody because of a probation violation for resisting arrest in municipal court when the murder warrant was issued for her. She was arrested at Brown’s home July 27 when the search warrant was served.

Judge Milich set bond for both at $1 million.

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