Police say robbery the motive in East Side homicide
By Joe Gorman
Police say there was a third person in the car in which an 18-year-old Chaney High School graduate was found Tuesday morning.
Myckle Hughes, 21, of Sixth Street in Campbell, was arraigned in municipal court Wednesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated robbery in the shooting death of Sean Bell, 18, found about 5:10 a.m. inside a car in the 2300 block of Oak Street Extension.
Bell’s death is the 12th homicide of the year in Youngstown. In 2017, Youngstown had 28 homicides and 12 at this time last year.
Hughes’ bond was set at $75,000 by Judge Elizabeth Kobly. Police booked Hughes into the Mahoning County jail after several hours of questioning after he was taken into custody at the McCartney Road Auto Zone by officers who got a tip he was there.
Hughes was a suspect at that point, and when he was taken into custody, he had a small amount of marijuana that led to a minor misdemeanor possession of drugs citation.
Chief of Detectives Capt. Brad Blackburn said Hughes was killed during a robbery, but he did not want to say what Hughes is accused of trying to take. He also did not want to say how Hughes was allegedly able to get away from the crime scene in a driving rain just before sunrise on a remote road in a remote area of the city.
There was a witness who was in the car when Bell was killed and police were able to question that person and get some information, Blackburn said.
Bell’s parents, Sean Sr. and Christine, said it was the witness who introduced Hughes to their son. They said their son never knew Hughes.
Speaking outside of their home, they said their son was planning on attending Youngstown State University and that he wanted to open his own auto repair shop someday.
“He had a heart of gold. Everybody loved him. He’s a smart kid,” Christine Bell said.
Sean Sr. said his son was an avid basketball fan and his favorite team was the Chicago Bulls.
“They took an angel from us,” his mother said.
Police were called for a report of an accident because the car Bell was in was off the road. They found Bell bleeding from the back of the head and nonresponsive.
City Law Director Jeff Limbian said Hughes is charged with manslaughter because it is alleged he killed Bell during the commission of a felony.
Limbian also told 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner, “The pool of defendants or participants may be expanding very quickly.”
Detectives told the TV station Hughes was in the car with the victim, and after the shooting, allegedly grabbed a bag of suspected marijuana and two cellphones and fled. But he had help.
“There was a follow car with at least two people in that car as well, so this was a robbery that was planned,” Limbian told 21 WFMJ-TV.
A friend of the victim was also in his Trailblazer at the time of the shooting and played dead, and then ran through the woods to get help, Limbian said.
Limbian said investigators need to be able to prove Hughes intended to kill Bell when he robbed him to charge him with murder. He said if that happens, a grand jury can indict him for murder.
Bell attended the Choffin Career and Technical Center and graduated in 2018 from Chaney High School. The city school district had counselors on hand Wednesday for students who have been affected by his death.