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Rapper gets probation in robbery

Long hearing centers around stolen necklace

Holden Raines Jr., left, is shown with his attorney, Ron Yarwood, during Raines’ sentencing hearing Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Raines could have gotten prison time, but Judge Anthony Donofrio ordered three years of probation.

YOUNGSTOWN — With Youngstown’s history of young men in rap music being killed, officials took seriously the assault and feud involving local rappers Holden J. Raines Jr. and Marlin Ostrom.

Prosecutors filed an aggravated robbery charge against Raines, 32, of the New Castle, Pa., area after they concluded that Raines had stolen two necklaces from around Ostrom’s neck and assaulted him at the back of an East Midlothian Boulevard club Nov. 2, 2019.

Ostrom, who also is from the New Castle, Pa., area, had performed there earlier that night. Surveillance video from the club showed part of the attack.

It took almost 18 months between Raines’ March 2020 indictment and Raines’ Aug. 13 plea to take place. It allowed Raines to plead down to robbery with a recommendation that Raines go to prison for up to three years. Probation and no prison time also were possible.

At the end of Raines’ sentencing hearing Wednesday, Judge Anthony Donofrio of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Raines to three years of probation and no prison time. Raines also must spend four to six months in a Community Corrections Association of Youngstown treatment program. He must undergo substance abuse counseling and pay restitution for the stolen chains as soon as the value can be determined.

Since the assault, Raines and Ostrom have harassed each other, Donofrio said during the hearing. The harassment caused the judge to consider holding both men in contempt of court, he said.

Early in the long hearing, Martin Hume, assistant prosecutor, showed videos Raines made, social-media posts he wrote and many other media aimed at disrespecting and taunting Ostrom.

Hume showed video after video of Raines wearing the stolen jewelry and rapping taunts. One was professionally produced.

Among the most offensive parts of the lyrics were ones where Raines ridiculed Ostrom for talking to police about the assault, Hume said. “Going to the police is lame,” Raines rapped,” and “All rats got to die,” according to the video. “Come fight for your chains,” was another frequent theme.

But the taunting went beyond that. The lyrics and posts suggested murder of Ostrom and others.

Hume avoided repeating the most vulgar language from the video but showed dozens of examples of Raines expressing his disregard for law and order.

Hume called Raines’ behavior toward Ostrom the most blatant case he has seen of a person not showing remorse for his actions.

Hume also showed photos of the injuries to the forehead, knees, hand and bicep of Ostrom. The victim estimated the value of the necklaces was about $5,000 because they were custom-made, Hume said.

Raines’ attorney, Ron Yarwood said he did not bring videos of the social-media harassment Ostrom directed at Raines but said it also was pervasive, calling it a “back and forth matter.”

Yarwood noted that he believes rap artists make videos containing taunts as a way to sell videos but noted that rappers who do that can lose their life.

Yarwood said his “biggest concern is that (Raines) lives because … sometimes the mouth goes too far.”

No one at the hearing mentioned names, but rapper Chris Cordero, 34, of the South Side was shot to death in August while riding a scooter with a female passenger. Cordero told The Vindicator in May 2020 that the numerous reports of gunfire near his home was the result of jealousy over his success as a rapper.

And Charles Allen Jr., 27, was shot to death inside the Utopia video nightclub April 3 after performing rap music at the club. His mother, Aleesha Bell, told The Vindicator later she thinks his rap lyrics made him a target.

Ostrom told Donofrio before sentencing he thinks Raines targeted him out of jealousy over Ostrom’s success in music. But Ostrom said the social-media and video attacks have been humiliating and frightening. He added, “I could be laying in a casket if I didn’t fight for my life” the night he was attacked at the club.

Raines later told the judge he also has been successful in the music business and he “never meant to hurt” Ostrom.

The judge said he was “pretty offended” by what he saw in the videos and messages and noted that Raines has a “colorful” criminal history but said he saw a “lack of maturity” by Raines and the victim.

erunyan@vindy.com

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