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Monthslong delay in Rowan trial explained

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County prosecutors said Wednesday the months-long delay announced last week in the murder trials of three men accused of killing Rowan Sweeney, 4, was caused by the request of a defense attorney in juvenile court to review evidence related to the January arrest of co-defendant Andre McCoy Jr.

Assistant Prosecutor Mike Yacovone told Judge Anthony D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that a probable cause hearing for co-defendant Brandon Crump was postponed from last week to June 21 because his attorney, Lou DeFabio, requested and was granted more time to review evidence related to McCoy’s arrest.

Yacovone told the judge there have been “numerous materials” that collected “in the wake of Mr. McCoy’s arrest. Mr. DeFabio said he wants those before he goes forward with the hearing.”

Yacovone and Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Paris mentioned the McCoy arrest at another hearing in the Rowan case last week, saying that “multiple electronic devices” were seized when McCoy was arrested in Youngstown, and they have been submitted to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab.

She said McCoy’s arrest has “opened new doors” in the case.

And Yacovone said prosecutors would “love to see what’s in” the new physical evidence “before we rush into anything.” Yacovone said the postponement of the hearing in juvenile court might also help prosecutors present their case.

Crump’s case is in juvenile court because he was 17 at the time of the killing, so Judge Theresa Dellick of Mahoning County Juvenile Court still has to hold a hearing to hear evidence as to whether there is probable cause to believe McCoy committed the crimes he is charged with before the charges can be bound over to adult court.

Rowan was killed and four adults in a home on Perry Street in Struthers were injured when a male came through the front door of the home early Sept. 21, 2020, and shot everyone. Investigators say they believe the incident began as a robbery.

With Crump’s probable cause hearing now set for June 21, he cannot be tried June 20 as planned previously, officials acknowledged last week. Prosecutors have said they want to try Crump first. Each defendant must be tried separately because of the nature of the charges.

Each man is charged with aggravated murder in Rowan’s death and many other charges related to the shootings of the adults.

erunyan@vindy.com

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