Man ruled competent to stand trial in ’15 murder

By Joe Gorman


Not many murder defendants want a death-penalty specification added to their case.

Tuesday, James Jarrell asked why he couldn’t have one in his aggravated-murder case.

After a hearing in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court before Judge Lou D’Apolito, where attorneys on both sides stipulated to an evaluation that said Jarrell was competent to stand trial, he asked why he could not have a death-penalty specification added to his case.

Jarrell, 35, is charged in the July 7, 2015, stabbing death of his stepmother, Tina Jarrell, 55, in the kitchen of her Wellington Avenue on the West Side.

Judge D’Apolito told Jarrell that because he was not indicted with a death-penalty specification, he cannot ask to have that added to his charges in a plea bargain or any other type of proceeding.

Jarrell did not say why he wants the death penalty added.

A trial date has not been set for Jarrell, who was to go to trial in November only to have it delayed because of a suicide attempt at the county jail.

Prosecutors at the time accused Jarrell of malingering and wanting to delay his trial by any means possible, so Judge D’Apolito ordered the evaluation to determine if Jarrell was competent to stand trial, understand the charges against him and be able to aid in his own defense.

The evaluation determined that Jarrell is competent to stand trial.

Jarrell also tried to fire one of his attorneys in November, and the judge would not allow him. He tried again Tuesday, and the judge would not allow it.

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