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WRITER: Guy Vogrin

Family seeks justice for Jane

By GUY VOGRIN Staff writer Jane Kleese, described by family members as a 35-year-old effervescent woman, was found dead at her Cynthia Street home in Niles on Jan. 23, 2002 — 20 years ago today. At first, it was thought she died from a fall down the stairs. But later family members learned it was no accident, and the killer has gotten away with it for two decades. Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins ...

Woman gets 84 months for role in meth ring

A Portage County resident, who is incarcerated on state drug convictions, on Thursday was given an 84-month federal sentence for her involvement in a local methamphetamine trafficking ring. U.S. Judge Donald C. Nugent sentenced Jaclyn Szachury during a video hearing in Northern Ohio District Court. Szachury, 35, pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to a federal charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. She also was ...

Death of Niles woman still an open case 20 years later

Jane Kleese, described by family members as a 35-year-old effervescent woman, was found dead at her Cynthia Street home in Niles on Jan. 23, 2002 -- 20 years ago on Sunday. At first, it was thought she died from a fall down the stairs. But later family members learned it was no accident, and the killer has gotten away with it for two decades. Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins notes that the "case file ...

City man gets 4 years for chase

WARREN — A Youngstown man who led police on chase on a stolen motorcycle through Weathersfield last March received a four-year prison sentence Thursday after pleading to drug charges. Rodney A. Smith Jr., 32, of South Evanston Avenue, pleaded on Dec. 9 before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Rice to aggravated possession of drugs, possession of a fentanyl-related compound and possession of drugs. ...

Former 911 director files suit against Trumbull commissioners

YOUNGSTOWN — Trumbull County’s three commissioners are named individually in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the former county 911 director who claims he was let go because of age discrimination. An attorney for Ernest Cook, 70, filed the civil rights lawsuit Jan. 13 in U.S. Northern Ohio District Court. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $150,000, including back pay, fringe benefits, and ...

Homicide case remains cold in Niles

NILES — More than five years after the fact, Niles police detectives still are investigating the brutal murder of a woman who had been a public servant and a great cook. Arlene Frasca, 74, a longtime Trumbull County Clerk of Courts employee, was killed Oct. 6, 2016, when assailants entered her Hiram Avenue ranch home looking for something, detectives believe. Husband Angelo Frasca placed a 911 call shortly ...

New Ohio law affects Valley murder case

EAST LIVERPOOL — Because of a state law that went into effect in April 2021, a prison inmate who has been incarcerated for more than three decades for the 1987 murder of an East Liverpool man gets an early bid for freedom. Billy Wayne Smith, 52, who was a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday when Kevin Burks died at the hands of four people, will face a parole hearing this month outside his cell at the ...

Man pleads to fight with federal agent

YOUNGSTOWN — A New Haven, Conn., man who tried to elude authorities at a Niles motel last fall has pleaded guilty to a federal charge in the case. Montrell Holmes, 25, on Friday appeared before U.S. Judge Pamela A. Barker of Northern Ohio District Court. Holmes changed his plea to guilty to a charge of assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer. Barker is scheduled to sentence Holmes at 8 a.m. on June ...

Railroad cited for blocking Hubbard crossings

HUBBARD TOWNSHIP — A township police captain on Friday said he has sent officials of Norfolk Southern railroad, headquartered in Atlanta, a traffic citation. The citation is for the incident on Dec. 27 of a train blocking two Hubbard Township crossings for more than six hours, backing up traffic at both state Route 304 and Lewis Siefert Road. Capt. Ron Fusco said the citation for obstructing of roads by ...

City man gets 8 years in prison

WARREN — A 29-year-old Youngstown man pleaded guilty to multiple charges and was sentenced to eight years in prison. The case is connected to assaults on and threats made to a 29-year-old Hubbard woman and her minor daughter. William Barry, of Weston Avenue, pleaded guilty Thursday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to charges of domestic violence, endangering children and violating a protection order. In ...