Man pleads guilty in 2016 shooting death
By Joe Gorman
The suspect in a 2016 homicide on the East Side who declined a plea bargain last week in his aggravated-murder case accepted one as his trial was set to begin in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Akeem Brown, 27, of Shady Run Road, pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and a firearm specification before Judge Maureen Sweeney and was immediately sentenced to nine years in prison.
The sentence was agreed upon by defense attorneys and prosecutors. Brown originally had been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and illegal possession of a weapon.
Police accused Brown of the July 15, 2016, shooting death of Anthony Bianco, 51, of Masury. Bianco was found in a burning car at Seifert and Knapp avenues.
Police said Brown killed Bianco over a debt.
Brown declined to speak when he was offered a chance to do so by Judge Sweeney before he was sentenced.
Brown also pleaded guilty to charges in two unrelated cases and received sentences of 51/2 years, all to run concurrent to the sentence in the manslaughter case.
Police arrested Brown in Bianco’s killing just after he completed a preliminary hearing in municipal court for one of the other cases to which he pleaded guilty.
Brown and Destaney Phillips, 22, both faced charges of aggravated murder in Bianco’s death. 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.
Court records show Phillips still faces charges, but there has not been a court date entered for her trial.