Both sides rest in East Side murder case


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Jurors in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court are expected to hear closing arguments today in the Kimani Hodges murder trial.

Hodges, 21, did not testify on his own behalf during the three-day trial. Both sides rested before Visiting Judge H.F. Inderlied.

Hodges is accused of the Feb. 16, 2016, shooting death of Jason Fonseca, 20, of Ayers Street, who was shot in the driveway of his East Side home. Police and prosecutors said Fonseca was killed in a dispute over a car.

The last witness jurors heard from was Hodges’ 16-year-old sister, who told jurors under direct examination from defense attorney Tony Meranto that Sunday evening, the night before the trial started, Hodges’ former co-defendant, Angel Bell, called her and told her she was asked by prosecutors to lie in the trial and she was worried.

Bell testified earlier this week.

Charges against Bell were dropped last January, the day after Hodges went on trial the first time in the case. A mistrial was declared shortly after that trial began because of the testimony of a witness.

Under cross-examination from Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa, the sister testified Bell never told her what she witnessed that day.

The first witness jurors heard in the morning was the lead detective on the case, Detective Sgt. Rick Spotleson. He was being cross-examined by Meranto, who was asking him why Hodges was a suspect.

Meranto said there were several people at the crime scene and they all mentioned the person who did the shooting was “Kimani” or “Little Kimani.”

“Everybody was mentioning that name,” Spotleson said.

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