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Man arraigned in Youngstown car club death

YOUNGSTOWN — For the second straight week, recently indicted inmates at the Mahoning County jail were arraigned by video Tuesday instead of the normal in-person arraignments in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

These also might be the last arraignments for a while as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the county grand jury that issues indictments.

Among those arraigned Tuesday was Robert L. Shelton, 44, of Lithonia, Ga., who is indicted on aggravated murder, murder and tampering with evidence charges in the Feb. 9 shooting death of Dymond D. Ortello, 34, at the Brothers of Power Classic Cars Club on Logan Avenue.

Shelton pleaded not guilty, and Judge Anthony D’Apolito continued Shelton’s $1 million bond.

Police said two officers were only 30 to 40 feet from Shelton when Shelton shot Ortello outside the club, just after the officers arrived around 3:45 a.m.

About 100 people were trying to leave the club at the time in what police called a chaotic scene. Shelton got away, but the U.S. Marshals Service found and arrested him at an apartment in Liberty later.

Two other men — Daniel Ortello, 31, and Charles Pullen, 37 — shot each other to death inside the club, police said. The club since has been shut down.

During the arraignments, D’Apolito and Mike Yacovone, assistant county prosecutor, made the two attorneys in the courtroom at the time aware that they are open to any defendants indicted on lower-level felonies — who are not in jail — waiving a personal appearance for their arraignments.

It is one more way to reduce the number of people coming to the courthouse in this COVID-19 time, the judge said.

OTHERS ARRAIGNED

Also arraigned were Robert P. Young IV, 46, indicted on attempted murder, several counts of felonious assault and one count of attempted aggravated arson; and Nichole R. Taylor, 38, charged with similar offenses. Both pleaded not guilty.

They are charged in the shooting of a man and woman last September in a home on Wayside Drive. Reports indicated both were shot numerous times, and a house set on fire.

Defendant Aaron Clinkscale, 27, of Kendis Circle, pleaded not guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.

Clinkscale originally was charged with murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the Feb. 4 shooting death of Ramon Cooper, 29, outside of a South Avenue tavern. But a Mahoning County grand jury refused to indict Clinkscale on murder.

During Clinkscale’s arraignment, attorney Tony Meranto asked D’Apolito to lower Clinkscale’s bond from the $510,000 set before the grand jury eliminated the murder charge. But D’Apolito referred the question of bond to the judge who will hear the case.

erunyan@tribtoday.com