Person of interest questioned in triple homicide

By Joe Gorman


Detectives questioned a man Friday who they called a person of interest in Wednesday’s triple homicide in which one of the victims was an infant.

The man was questioned for about an hour in the Detective Bureau before being taken to the Mahoning County jail, where he is being held on a probation violation from Franklin County.

The man’s cousin was also questioned briefly by detectives. The cousin said he told the man Friday to turn himself in because word was out police wanted to talk to him.

Shot just after 7 p.m. Wednesday as they sat in a car in front of a home at Pasadena Avenue and Gibson Street were Edward Morris, 21; Valarica Blair, 19; and their 3-month-old son, Tariq Blair.

The person of interest refused to answer any questions from reporters as he waited for an elevator with U.S. Marshals, instead just staring straight ahead.

Chief Robin Lees said detectives have received several tips since a news conference Thursday with area clergy members, when they asked the public to help police with any information they may have.

Lees said a lot of times police will receive more cooperation from people in a case where a child is killed.

He said detectives are checking every credible tip they receive.

The city has also been offered help from Herb Fitzgerald, in charge of the Youngstown FBI office, and from Justin Herdman, the U.S. Northern Attorney For the Northern District Of Ohio, Lees said.

A man who was caught Thursday taking things out of the home where the victims’ car was found was arraigned Friday in municipal court on drug and weapon charges.

Spencer Brown, 29, was given a $35,000 bond by Magistrate Anthony Sertick on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, possession of cocaine and possession of heroin.

Police were called to the home by someone who saw Brown going inside and when he was searched, they found $714 cash, cocaine, heroin and a 9 mm handgun.

Brown has served two prison sentences and was just released from prison earlier this year after serving three years on a possession of heroin charge.

Lees said Brown is not considered a suspect, but he will be questioned by detectives because of his relationship with the home that the victims were in front of when they were killed.

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