JARRELL TRIAL | Jury finds man guilty of murder

YOUNGSTOWN — A Mahoning County jury found James Jarrell guilty of murder in the stabbing death of his 55-year-old stepmother.

The jury did not reach a decision on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery or voluntary manslaughter, but found him guilty of tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property.

Jarrell, 36, was charged in connection with his stepmother’s 2015 stabbing death. He testified Tuesday that he drove to her house to do drugs and attacked her in a fit of rage when she began to insult him.

Defense attorneys had argued for a charge of voluntary homicide in closing argument while prosecutors sought the aggravated murder charge.

Judge Lou A. D’Apolito will sentence Jarrell at a later date in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

2:30 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — The fate of James Jarrell, accused of the 2015 stabbing death of his stepmother, will be up to a jury.

Attorneys for the prosecution and defense delivered closing arguments this afternoon.

Judge Lou A. D’Apolito, of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, will instruct the jury before they begin deliberations.

Both prosecutors and Jarrell’s attorney agree that Jarrell killed his 55-year-old stepmother, but they disagree on how he should be charged.

Prosecutors allege that Jarrell went to his victim’s house to get drug money, and when she resisted, he bashed her head in and slit her throat — an aggravated murder.

“He went to get money for drugs,” said assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Brevetta. “When she fought back, he killed her.”

Defense attorneys claim the victim, with whom Jarrell had a sexual relationship beginning at age 15 began to berate and attack Jarrell when he refused to move to Florida with her. This enraged the defendant, and he commuted voluntary manslaughter in a fit of passion.

Atty. Ron Yarwood said his client, who has a history of drug abuse and claims to have been sexually abused, was a stray dog that was poked and jabbed one too many times.

11:54 a.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — Closing arguments in James Jarrell’s aggravated murder trial will commence at 1 p.m. this afternoon.

They were set to begin at 9 a.m., but attorneys spent more than two hours to settle upon jury instructions.

Jarrell, 36, faces multiple charges in relation to the 2015 stabbing death of his 55-year-old stepmother.

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