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Judge considers use of dead man's remarks in his murder trial

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Ronald Lewis was a witness and a murder victim, and because of that unique status, prosecutors wanted to use the dying declaration of Lewis’ brother in the case of the man accused of killing him.

Gregory James, 37, is charged with aggravated murder in the death of Lewis, 40, who police said was shot early March 24, 2017, as he was sleeping in his home on Atkinson Avenue. His wife, sleeping beside him, was shot 10 times,N but survived.

Just two days before Lewis was killed, his brother, Javell Bates, 40, died in St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital after being shot March 8, 2017, outside of a Josephine Avenue home. After Bates was shot, he drove to the home of Lewis and police said Bates told Lewis it was James and another man who shot him.

No one has yet been charged in the death of Bates.

James’ trial in the death of Lewis is set to begin in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.

Judge Krichbaum on Wednesday heard a motion by James’ lawyer, Frank Cassese, to have the dying declaration thrown out.

Read more about the case in Thursday's Vindicator or on