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3 face charges in 2021 abduction, assault

From left, brothers Kyle, Anthony and Keith Ellison discuss their case with James Gentile, one of three attorneys representing them in their trial Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. They are charged with abduction, aggravated robbery and felonious assault in an Oct. 5, 2021, incident. They are accused of abducting a man from a home on Loveland Road on the South Side and assaulting him. Staff photo / Ed Runyan

YOUNGSTOWN — “It’s necessary to respect the law,” Patrick Kiraly, a Mahoning County assistant prosecutor, told jurors Tuesday during opening statements in the kidnapping, abduction, aggravated robbery and felonious assault trial of three brothers.

The case is being heard by Judge John Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

“Without respect, there is no order. Where there is no order, there is chaos,” he said, noting that when jurors came to court Tuesday, they obeyed the red and green traffic signals. “It would be nearly impossible to get where you are going without obeying the traffic lights. Those traffic lights are the key to everything.”

He added, “Without traffic lights, we are lost. Without the law, we are lost. When there are no laws, there is chaos,” he said.

“The evidence will show that Keith Ellison, Kyle Ellison and Anthony Ellison don’t respect the law,” he said. “They took a victim from his home, forced him from his home, drove him to their house, where they brutally assaulted and they robbed him over an accusation that he took weed and money from them.”

Keith and Kyle Ellison are 21-year-old twins. Anthony is 23.

Kiraly said the three brothers, who are from Youngstown and Boardman, “punched the victim, kicked the victim, held the victim down and stomped on him, hit him in the head with a gun, caused a laceration on his back.”

He said the victim, 23, will testify at the trial; and a co-defendant, Undrel A. Fletcher, 24, will testify as to all of the same things as the victim.

Next up with opening statements was attorney Ron Yarwood, who represents Keith Ellison. He called the prosecution’s opening statement “great fear mongering” intended to make jurors feel that “if you don’t do your job, there will be chaos in the streets.”

He said what is missing is evidence about “the case” and “what they expect to produce. That’s because no one knows what happened on that October day 2021.”

He said prosecutors “don’t have evidence, and they know they don’t so they won’t talk too much about what they expect to prove to you. They don’t have the goods.”

Yarwood said the testimony of co-defendant Fletcher will not be credible because he will be “motivated … to say whatever he has to say to get himself out trouble.”

Attorney Rhys Cartwright Jones, who represents Kyle Ellison, said it will be important for jurors to observe the demeanor of the alleged victim and Fletcher.

“I think you couldn’t trust these witnesses for menial tasks. I think if they showed up to pressure spray your driveway or mow your lawn, send them away,” he said.

Attorney James Gentile, who represents Anthony Ellison, said the charges are “perhaps among the most serious … in a court of law. It is not a loss of life, but other than that, this is as high as you get.”

He said he thinks this case is about theft of marijuana, “certainly not” what the victim says it is about and “certainly not what Mr. Fletcher says happened.”

The first two witnesses were Youngstown police officers. Both described the victim as having injuries and scrapes. One said the victim was “pacing back and forth” when officers arrived at his home on Loveland Road on the South Side the afternoon of Oct. 5, 2021.

Their police report states the alleged victim said four men and a woman showed up his home, and he went to the end of the driveway to talk to them. The individuals grabbed the alleged victim, forced him into the car, drove away and assaulted him while he was in the car, the report states.

Patrolman John O’Neill III said the victim had “markings” and “marks” on his forehead, face, chest and back. One was bleeding, and they appeared to fresh wounds, he agreed under questioning by Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta.

Jason Smith, a paramedic with AMR ambulance service, testified to the alleged victim having abrasions on his face, forehead and a laceration on his lower back. He told Smith he was “struck multiple times by his assailants. He did not say with what or by whom,” Smith said.

The trial resumes this morning.

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