Defendant nixes plea deal in murder case


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Akeem Brown has decided to roll the dice.

Brown, 26, of Shady Run Road, rejected a plea offer Wednesday that would have given him 18 years in prison for the July 15, 2016, shooting death of Anthony Bianco on the East Side.

If convicted after a trial that is set to begin Monday before Judge Maureen Sweeney, the maximum sentence is life in prison plus 17 years.

However, Brown said he did not want to accept the offer from the prosecution, so the case will go to trial Monday.

Under the offer, prosecutors would have amended a charge of aggravated murder to manslaughter, and Brown would have pleaded guilty to that charge and a charge of aggravated robbery with a firearm specification.

Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews said the offer is now off the table because of Brown’s refusal.

Brown and Destaney Phillips, 22, both face charges of aggravated murder in the death of Bianco, who was found in a burning car at Seifert and Knapp avenues on the East Side.

Bianco had been shot while the car was running and it drifted into a stretch of high grass, which caught on fire after a time because the car continued to run. The blaze also engulfed the car.

Police said Bianco was lured to the area and killed over a debt he owed to the couple.

Court records show Phillips still faces charges but there has not been a court date entered for her on the docket for her case.

Judge Sweeney asked Brown if he understood what was going on and if wished to go ahead with his trial, and Brown told the judge he did.

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