Inmate testifies for prosecution in murder case

Staff report


A county jail inmate testified Monday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that a man accused of murder told him why the victim was killed and what kind of gun he used.

Inmate Kenneth Price told a jury before Judge Lou D’Apolito that the defendant, Leonard Savage, 22, blamed Thomas Owens, 33, of Burbank Avenue, for the death of his uncle, who died from a gunshot wound in 2004.

Savage is one of three men accused of the death of Owens, who was shot to death Nov. 14, 2015, as he sat in a parked car on Myrtle Avenue. His trial began Wednesday.

The other two defendants will go on trial at a later date.

Court was not in session Friday, so there was no testimony.

Prosecutors said that Savage blamed Thomas Owens for the death of his uncle, Richard Owens, no relation, who died from a gunshot wound in 2004 as the two were playing with a gun. Thomas Owens pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in that case.

Under direct examination from Assistant Prosecutor Martin Desmond, Price said that he was close to Savage and talked to him regularly at the jail, jotting down what he said afterward in his cell. He contacted prosecutors with information in another murder case and also gave them information on the Thomas Owens homicide. Price said Savage also told him he used a .40-caliber handgun when Thomas Owens was killed.

Police said a .40-caliber and a .45-caliber were used in the shooting that killed Thomas Owens.

Price said his charges were not reduced in exchange for his testimony. He has been in the jail since June 24 on drug, weapons and traffic charges.

In the afternoon, a ballistic technician from the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified about shell casings collected at the crime scene.

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