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Prosecutor: Drugs smuggled into prison killed inmate

YOUNGSTOWN — A woman accused of bringing balloons of methamphetamine to a man serving a life sentence for murder at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center faces charges of involuntary manslaughter after the man died when a balloon opened up inside him.

Perez Worley, 28, died Dec. 15, 2018, after one of the eight balloons filled with drugs came open, causing a drug overdose, said Michael Yacovone, Mahoning County assistant prosecutor.

Latonya Cliff, 37, of Wichita Avenue, Cleveland, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs and illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto grounds of a specified governmental facility, aggravated trafficking in drugs and aggravated possession of drugs.

Yacovone said the case is pretty clear cut. A person can be charged with involuntary manslaughter if someone dies when he or she is committing a felony, Yacovone said. And, in this case, Cliff is accused of several felonies, resulting in Worley’s death.

The first-degree felony charge could carry a base sentence of three to 11 years.

A warrant and an indictment were issued for Cliff on Thursday, according to Mahoning County Common Pleas Court records.

Worley was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 28 years in 2015, for the 2014 East Cleveland shooting death of Jonathan Hansard, 23, according to Cleveland.com. The two had beat a murder charge together in 2009 by refusing to testify against one another, according to the news outlet.

Worley fled the area after Hansard’s murder and was featured on the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force’s “Fugitive of the Week” list in 2014.

The Mahoning County grand jury issued nearly 20 other indictments this week, including a few secret indictments. The identities of those secretly indicted will be revealed after they are arrested.

Those indicted who will appear in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for arraignment in the next week are:

l Mitchel O. Lacey, 48, 13129 Bethesda Ave, Hanoverton, receiving stolen property;

l Charles E. Bauman, 32, 7448 Oregon Trail, Boardman, possession of heroin, and possession of drug abuse instruments and drug paraphernalia;

l George M. Hill, 45, 663 Oregon Ave, Sebring, violating a protection order;

l Brandon L. Court, 29, 545 W. Ohio Ave, Sebring, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass;

l Kerri L. Ranshaw, 33, 2138 Hubbard Masury Road, Hubbard, possessing drug abuse instruments and drug paraphernalia;

l Nicholas A. Shank, 23, 3390 Lakeside Drive, Mineral Ridge, aggravated possession of drugs;

l Ravon Jeter, no age or address available, disrupting public services and vandalism;

l Courtney B. Shivers, 35, 946 Delaware Ave., Youngstown, aggravated possession of drugs and illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto grounds of a specified governmental facility;

l Jessica S. Freeman, 40, 901 Wilder Drive, Elyria, two counts each of aggravated possession of drugs and operating a vehicle while under the influence;

l Jaime L. Dyer, 25, 5606 Madrid Drive, Austintown, aggravated possession of drugs;

l Brianne T. Wasson, 26, 170 Beechwood Drive, Boardman, possession of cocaine;

l Jay R. Weston, no age or address available, possession of heroin and drug abuse instruments;

l Michael J. Drummond, 41, 3602 Oakview, Girard, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle and possession of heroin and cocaine;

l Iesha D. Austin, 28, 1515 Hickory Court, Youngstown, possession of cocaine, possession of a fentanyl-related compound and possession of drugs;

l John Doe, trafficking cocaine, and three charges of trafficking fentanyl-related compounds.

l John Doe, two charges of trafficking cocaine.

rfox@ribtoday.com