Bond set in Last Call murder case
By Joe Gorman
A judge set bond at $500,000 for a man whose murder trial ended in a mistrial in June.
A new trial date of Nov. 5 also has been set for Johnny Ray Wallace, 23, who went on trial last month in the Nov. 28 shooting death of Colin Brown, 45, at a South Avenue bar.
A jury failed to reach a verdict, so a mistrial was declared. Prosecutors decided to retry Wallace, who has been in the Mahoning County jail on $1 million bond since he was arrested the day after Brown’s death.
Judge Lou D’Apolito of common pleas court had a hearing Wednesday on a bond-reduction request by Anthony Meranto, Wallace’s lawyer.
Prosecutors recommended a $500,000 bond. Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa said when Wallace was arraigned in Youngstown Municipal Court, his bond was set at $1 million. At his arraignment, the matter of bond was deferred to the trial court.
Meranto suggested a bond of $100,000, saying four jurors voted to acquit his client and that as far as he knows, prosecutors will be going to trial with the same evidence.
Judge D’Apolito said he thought the $500,000 amount was reasonable to secure Wallace’s appearance at trial, given that trial testimony showed he altered his appearance and hid from police who were looking for him.
Police have accused Wallace of killing Brown as the two were in a restroom at the Last Call Lounge on South Avenue. Witnesses for the prosecution said only Brown and Wallace were in the restroom when a gunshot was heard and Wallace walked out.
Prosecutors made a motion for a jury view for the next trial, so jurors could see the size of the restroom. Some jurors wondered about the size of the restroom at the last trial, attorneys in the case said.
April Brown, Colin Brown’s sister, said she is not looking forward to sitting through another trial, but she is confident in the next trial her family will get justice.
“I’m very confident they’re going to find him [Wallace] guilty,” April Brown said.