Judge rules defendant is competent in homicide case

By Joe Gorman



A suspect in a February homicide has been deemed competent to stand trial.

Judge Maureen Sweeney on Monday made the determination in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court after two separate evaluations found Terrell Martin, 37, of Winona Drive, understands the charges against him and can assist in his defense.

Martin is charged with aggravated murder in the Feb. 20 death of Zachary Howell, 40, in an SUV that belonged to him and was found burning behind a vacant home on Knapp Avenue on the far East Side. Police said Howell was shot and killed before the SUV was set on fire.

Also indicted in Howell’s death was Lyric Moore, 21, of Tyrell Avenue. Her case is pending.

Judge Sweeney’s ruling also encompasses three other cases Martin is charged in, two of them from 2016.

Martin underwent an evaluation after his attorney, John Juhasz, asked for one. Martin was deemed competent June 7. Juhasz then asked for a second evaluation, and the report for that came back Sept. 4 and also said Martin is competent.

Juhasz and an assistant county prosecutor agreed to accept the findings of the second evaluation.

In one of the 2016 cases, Martin faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and felonious assault in the beating of a man in spring 2016 who owned a drug house police later closed.

After he was indicted in that case, he was indicted on two counts of marijuana trafficking and complicity to trafficking in marijuana.

After he was taken into custody on the murder charge, he was indicted on an assault charge.

Police said Howell’s death resulted from a kidnapping plot that went awry.

After Martin was taken into custody, police said he banged his head against the wall in the detective bureau and tried to cut his wrist after breaking a device off a wall in an interview room used to store folders.

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