LaRosa moved to avoid son-in-law of murder victim Marie Belcastro

Staff report


Jacob LaRosa was transferred to the Mahoning County Adult Justice Center on Wednesday to avoid any issues related to a custodian at the Trumbull County jail who is the son-in-law of LaRosa’s crime victim.

LaRosa, 18, pleaded no contest this week in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to the 2015 aggravated murder, robbery and attempted rape of his neighbor, Marie Belcastro, 94, in her home on Cherry Street in Niles.

Major Dan Mason, administrator for the Trumbull County jail, said custodian Tim O’Leary travels throughout the jail and “would have to go through the area where LaRosa would be housed multiple times per day.”

The transfer also was done out of respect for an employee that should not have to provide a service to an inmate if the inmate victimized the employee’s family, Mason said.

Mason said such transfers are common in such situations.

As a example, Mahoning County transferred inmate Richard Rowe of Campbell to the Trumbull County jail, and he remained there two years, Mason said.

Jail records indicate that Rowe arrived Jan. 14, 2016, and left Jan. 5, 2018.

Rowe, 59, a former Mahoning County corrections officer, was convicted Jan. 2 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court of two counts of retaliation and one count of felonious assault. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

The retaliation charges related to Rowe threatening to shoot his former boss, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene, and other sheriff’s office employees.

LaRosa will be sentenced after an April 5 and April 6 hearing before Judge W. Wyatt McKay. LaRosa had been housed in the Trumbull County Juvenile Justice Center from March 2015 until his no-contest plea Tuesday.

He was purposely kept at the Trumbull jail one day so he could meet with his attorneys and probation officials Wednesday, Mason said.

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