Man pleads guilty in Verona Avenue shooting death


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A Market Street man pleaded guilty in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to the Oct. 27 shooting death of a Verona Avenue man.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum on Thursday sentenced Kenneth Daniel, 25, to 18 years to life in prison for the death of TreVaughn Bell, 24, who was shot to death in the front yard of his East Side home.

Before Bell died, he was able to tell police it was Daniel who shot him.

Daniel pleaded guilty to a charge of murder with a sentence of 15 years to life plus a three-year firearm specification. In exchange for his guilty plea, a charge of aggravated murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 25 years plus the three years added for the firearm specification, was dropped.

Steve Maszczak, an assistant county prosecutor, told the judge at one time Bell and Daniel were friends. He said he still has no idea what led to the shooting. Witnesses told investigators they saw the two talking in the yard before hearing shots.

“It’s a tragic loss of life,” Maszczak said. “I hope they [Bell’s family] can take some comfort that the defendant has accepted responsibility.”

Daniel’s attorney, J.P. Laczko, told the judge his client requested a meeting with prosecutors Wednesday after they went over the evidence in the case. Laczko said his client instructed him to get a deal done.

“It was his choice to resolve this case in the manner in which it was resolved today,” Laczko said.

Daniel declined his opportunity to speak before the sentence was handed down. He was caught a couple of blocks away from the shooting by police on North Garland Avenue shortly after Bell was wounded. When he was caught, officers found a 9 mm handgun on him.

Judge Krichbaum agreed to the recommended sentence because Daniel accepted responsibility for his actions.

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