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Objections are filed to parole for teen rapists

Convicted of attack on YSU student in August 2001

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office filed objections with the Ohio Parole Board over the upcoming parole hearings of co-defendants Brandon Moore and Chaz Bunch, set for February.

Moore and Bunch were sentenced to 50 and 49 years, respectively, for the kidnapping, robbery and repeated rape of a 22-year-old woman Youngstown State University student on Aug. 21, 2001. The attack started just as she arrived to work the midnight shift at a group home for mentally handicapped women.

Moore and Bunch kidnapped the victim at gunpoint and drove her a dead-end street near Pyatt Street in Youngstown. There, Moore and Bunch raped her repeatedly at gunpoint.

Moore was convicted of two additional counts of aggravated robbery that occurred shortly before he and Bunch kidnapped and raped the YSU student.

The parole hearing objection was filed through Assistant Chief Prosecutor Ralph M. Rivera.

In January 2021, the Ohio General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 256 that granted parole eligibility to juvenile offenders such as Moore and Bunch regardless of their original sentence. Because Moore and Bunch were 15 and 16, respectively, when they committed these offenses, both are now eligible for parole.

This is despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court specifically recognized in Graham vs. Florida that “[a] State is not required to guarantee eventual freedom to a juvenile offender convicted of a nonhomicide crime. What the State must do, however, is give defendants like Graham some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation,” the filing states.

Ohio law only requires that juvenile offenders like Moore and Bunch receive an opportunity for parole, but does not guarantee their eventual release into society.

While Moore and Bunch will be afforded the required opportunity for parole, “the violent nature of their offenses, their significant criminal history as juveniles, and their negative behavior while incarcerated in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction establish that neither one is suitable for parole. In fact, their offenses unambiguously illustrate two people who should never live free in society,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Prior to this offense, Moore had a significant juvenile record, in which he spent time at the Ohio Department of Youth Services, because he did not respond favorably to the terms and conditions of his probation.

Bunch also had a significant juvenile record, which included aggravated menacing, receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and possession of drugs.

“In both cases of aggravated menacing, defendant Bunch threatened to kill several individuals, including two Boardman police officers in one of those instances. Bunch was also charged with shooting another individual, but the individual later refused to cooperate in Bunch’s juvenile adjudication of that offense,” the prosecutor’s office stated in a news release.

“For all those reasons, the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office objected to the release of defendants Brandon Moore and Chaz Bunch, because the brutality and callousness of the kidnapping, robbery and repeated rape of the YSU student demonstrate that paroling either Moore or Bunch would be inconsistent with protecting our community’s welfare and security.”

An email was sent to the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, but it was not answered.

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