Defendant claims self-defense
By Joe Gorman
Jurors in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court began deliberating in the case of a man charged with attempted murder and felonious assault who claims he shot a man at a South Side store in self-defense.
Judge Anthony D’Apolito sent jurors home about 5 p.m. Wednesday after they failed to reach a verdict in the case against Nicholas Italiano, 25, of Struthers, who is accused of shooting a man in the back Sept. 1 at a store at the corner of Market Street and East Midlothian Boulevard.
Jurors will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. today.
Police and prosecutors said a woman was arguing with Italiano over taking up too many parking spaces and that she called her boyfriend after Italiano called her a name, including a racial slur. The boyfriend punched Italiano and he was then shot as he was running away.
Italiano claimed self-defense, but police arrested him after viewing store security video of the shooting. At the time of the shooting, Italiano had a carrying concealed weapon permit.
Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta told jurors in his closing argument the case does not meet any of the legal criteria for self-defense because the victim was running away and the threat was over. He added Italiano used excessive force and forces disproportionate to what happened to him.
“Shooting a running man in the back after he punches you shows revenge,” Brevetta said. “It shows criminal intent.”
Defense attorney Ron Yarwood said his client was trying to leave when several people at the store were drawn to the argument then the victim showed up with another man.
Yarwood said the video shows his client backing up when they arrived, but when he was sucker punched, he had to make a split-second decision if his life was in danger.
Yarwood said his client’s mindset was: “I’m outnumbered, I’m punched, I’m cornered.”