Defendant’s bloody assault on woman withheld in court
YOUNGSTOWN — There were things the jury in the Israel Graham aggravated robbery and kidnapping trial were not allowed to know before finding the 23-year-old city man guilty April 23.
They were not told that the second man who committed the Oct. 28, 2018, offenses at the Burger King in Campbell was his brother, Caleb Graham.
They also didn’t hear about the bloody assault in a Kent apartment on a woman Israel had hoped to use for an alibi in his Campbell case.
Caleb Graham, who is now 24, faced most of the same charges as Israel in the Burger King episode. Caleb pleaded guilty Oct. 22, 2020, in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to aggravated robbery with a gun specification. Judge Maureen Sweeney will sentence him at 10 a.m. May 24.
Caleb’s plea agreement calls for him to get a seven-year prison sentence. His plea agreement did not require him to testify in his brother’s trial. He and Israel have the same address on Kenneth Street in Youngstown.
Testimony during Israel’s trial, also in common pleas court, indicated that a man in a reddish hooded sweatshirt, now known to be Caleb, did most of the talking to the several employees working in the restaurant during the robbery.
Witnesses said the man in the reddish sweatshirt was the one who held a gun while instructing a manager to remove money from the safe. The man in the black sweatshirt, Israel, spoke briefly a few times, witnesses said during the trial.
Israel was described as having approached a worker listening to music in the kitchen and telling him to empty the cash registers, which the worker did not know how to do. A second employee was ordered to open them.
All three workers who testified said they recognized Israel’s voice because he had been a shift manager at the restaurant until two weeks earlier.
A jury found Israel Graham guilty of aggravated robbery, three counts of kidnapping and one count of safecracking. Sweeney could give him about 50 years in prison when he is sentenced prior to his brother — at 9:30 a.m. May 24.
Another thing the jurors didn’t hear at the trial was that Israel Graham is already serving a three-year prison sentence for felonious assault out of Portage County for pushing a former girlfriend into a glass table at her Kent apartment, breaking it. He then assaulted the woman with an object, possibly a Hookah pipe.
The victim of the felonious assault was Aliza Patterson, who was living in Kent and attending Kent State University at the time of the Burger King robbery and the assault.
Patterson testified in Israel Graham’s trial, but she was not asked about the assault and the jury was not made aware of it. She did testify that Graham tried to get her to tell police that he was with her at the time of the robbery, but she refused.
Rob Andrews, an assistant county prosecutor, said prosecutors and defense agreed not to bring up the identity of the second robber in the case. He declined to explain further why.
As for the felonious assault conviction, Andrews said court rules of evidence, with limited exceptions, do not allow prosecutors to bring up previous convictions. If Israel Graham had taken the witness stand, prosecutors could have asked him about it, Andrews said.
A Feb. 20, 2019, Kent police report states that Graham called 911 at 10:25 a.m. that day asking for an ambulance and police officers to be sent to Patterson’s apartment for a domestic matter.
When police arrived, they found Patterson in the lobby with blood and lacerations all over her head and arms.
‘SO MUCH BLOOD’
“Her arms were covered in so much blood I could not see where the injuries were,” a Kent officer wrote.
When an officer went up to the apartment, he observed blood “all over the apartment floor” and blood in other rooms. Police also found a broken glass table in the kitchen.
Police questioned Graham in the apartment lobby, took him for medical attention for injuries to his hand and then took him to jail on felonious assault.
Officers spoke with Patterson at the apartment, but ambulance workers said her injuries were severe and she needed to be transported quickly to the hospital.
Later in the ambulance, Patterson told police Graham assaulted her repeatedly after pushing her into the glass table, causing it to break. The assault took place because Graham had been charged in the Burger King robbery in Campbell and wanted Patterson to “be her alibi,” Patterson said. She refused.
“He then pushed her into the glass top kitchen table, which shattered,” the report states. “She then fell to the ground. At that point she was lying in large shards of glass on the kitchen floor. Patterson said Graham started punching and hitting her in the face and head with something.”
Graham told an officer he hit Patterson with a Hookah pipe. “He also advised (an officer) he did it because he was going to jail anyway.”
An officer who saw Patterson at the hospital said medical personnel had not yet started to clean her wounds.
“Aliza was covered from the top of her head to her shoes with blood,” the officer reported.
“Aliza had deep lacerations about her head, face and arms. She had two large gaping wounds on her forehead. The largest wound on her right arm was severe to the point that fatty tissue was coming out of the wound,” the report stated.
Some of the wounds on her arms had the appearance of possibly being defensive in nature, as though she was blocking blows from an object with her arms, the officer stated.
“Some of the smaller wounds may have been caused from falling or moving around on the broken glass. I noticed swelling on Aliza’s face that did not appear to be related to the lacerations,” an officer stated.
“Aliza indicated that she was not sure if Israel was punching her with his fists or hitting her with an object,” the officer stated.
WOULD NOT LIE
When an officer asked her why the argument started, she said, “A case he’s in now. I was supposed to be an alibi, but I couldn’t do that to myself.” She made the decision that she was not going to commit perjury in court, the officer stated. “She made this clear to Israel today, and he attacked her.”
After Graham hung up from the 911 call, a dispatcher called back, and Patterson answered.
Patterson told the dispatcher Israel Graham “says I should die. He cut (me) all the way up. I’m cut all the way up. He threw me into my glass table and I think he had a Henny bottle.”
An officer noted that the broken table had glass about a half inch thick. “To me, this indicates that Aliza was shoved or thrown onto the table with an extreme amount of force to shatter a piece of glass this thick.”
Graham had lacerations to his wrist and his little finger that required stitches at the hospital.
Israel Graham pleaded guilty April 5 in Portage County Common Pleas Court to felonious assault in the case and was handed the three-year sentence.