Man who pleaded to robbery charges gets second chance

Staff report


A Boardman man who pleaded guilty to robbery will have a chance to prove he’s turned his life around.

Joseph Zaku, 20, of Argyle Avenue, appeared Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court before Judge Maureen A. Sweeney.

She sentenced him to five years’ probation, but he will perform 250 hours of community service and for the next six months, he will spend his weekends in the Mahoning County jail.

Zaku pulled a gun on a male victim, who attorneys said had autism, who was “smoking weed” at Zaku’s house in March 2017 and made him remove everything from his pockets, according to a police report.

Zaku’s attorney said the victim intended to buy drugs, and Zaku robbed him of $400.

The victim reported the incident after he said Zaku robbed him of his cellphone and assaulted him three days later. He was advised by Youngstown police to report the first incident, he told Boardman police.

Zaku told the court he knows what he did is wrong and he was hanging around with the wrong people.

His attorney said Zaku has since obtained steady employment.

“I’ve changed my life,” Zaku said. “My main focus is work and family.”

Judge Sweeney advised Zaku if he violates his probation, he could face up to 11 years in prison.

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