Parole opposed for man in killing of 3-year-old

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office is opposing parole for Denicholas Stoutmire, convicted in the 1996 killing of 3-year-old Jessica Ballew.

Jessica had gone to the porch of her home on Oak Park Street on the East Side for a drink of water at the time members of a gang arrived there to take revenge against a rival gang member.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Gina DeGenova urged the Ohio Parole Board to deny parole to Stoutmire, who was found guilty Sept. 24, 1996, after a jury trial on one count of complicity to aggravated murder in the death of Jessica. Stoutmire also was convicted of a firearm specification and three counts of complicity to attempted aggravated murder with firearm specifications. He was sentenced to consecutive prison terms, including a life sentence.

On June 10, 1996, members of the Bloods opened fire on members of the Crips, a rival gang at Elm Street and New York Avenue on the North Side in Youngstown. Edward McGaha, an affiliate of the Crips, was injured. After McGaha was released from the hospital, he, along with fellow members of the Crips, including Stoutmire, plotted their revenge against the Bloods.

Their plan called for the murder of Richard “Boom” Miles, who was believed to be the primary perpetrator in the earlier attack. To carry out their plan, members of the Crips stole two vehicles and borrowed a third to search the streets for Bloods, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Stoutmire drove one of the vehicles, containing three other Crips members, including Sidney Cornwell. Stoutmire stopped the vehicle in front of an apartment on Oak Park Street on the East Side in the area of the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center, where several people were sitting on the porch. Cornwell asked these individuals if “Boom” was inside, to which they responded, no.

Cornwell then shouted, “Tell Boom this” and opened fire on the house. Three adults were shot and injured, while Jessica was shot in the face and killed.

After serving more than one quarter of a century in the penitentiary, Stoutmire has completed very few programs and activities and received no credit for positive behavior. On the other hand, he has been disciplined for several rule infractions, according to a news release from the county prosecutor’s office.

Because of aggravating circumstances surrounding Stoutmire’s convictions, DeGenova told the parole board that “releasing Stoutmire into society would not further the interest of justice nor be consistent with the welfare and security of society.” DeGenova added that “(w)hile Stoutmire did not pull the trigger, he drove the shooter to the scene, fled the scene after shots were fired and went into hiding.”

According to witness testimony during trial, Stoutmire knew there was a plan to kill that night and that two of the car’s occupants had guns. The prosecutor’s letter to the parole board states that Stoutmire “put in motion a sequence of events that led to three people being shot and the death of a three-year old little girl.” It adds, “Certain crimes justify life imprisonment, and this is one of them.”

Stoutmire has a parole hearing in June.


The prosecutor’s office also filed objections to parole being granted to James Huff, 38, and Frederick Rice, 46, who were both sentenced to 18 years to life prison for the Aug. 9, 2005, murder and aggravated burglary of James Rowles in Youngstown.

On Aug. 8, 2005, co-defendants Huff, Jimmy Davenport and Rice met at Huff’s home, where they began to consume alcohol and illegal narcotics, according to the prosecutor’s office. Davenport began to inquire about the home next door, and the three came up with a plan to break into and rob the next door neighbor, Rowles.

Huff grabbed his .22-caliber firearm, while Davenport asked Rice if he could use Rice’s 9x19mm firearm, and Rice agreed. In the early morning Aug. 9, 2005, Huff, Davenport and Rice forced their way into the back door of Rowles’ residence. Rice proceeded into the basement, Huff went upstairs to the second floor, and Davenport went to the front of the home. Then Huff met Rice in the basement, where they heard a loud noise on the main floor and went upstairs to investigate. Huff and Rice encountered Davenport, who said he shot Rowles. Rice saw Rowles on the floor, presumably dead.

Later that day, Rice retrieved the bag of stolen items unbeknownst to Davenport and stored them in his home, according to prosecutors. Rice encountered Huff and Davenport; Davenport was holding a gas can and told Rice that he planned to burn Rowles’ home to the ground. Huff and Davenport went to a nearby gas station and filled the gas can.

Afterward, all three went to Huff’s residence and consumed alcohol and illegal narcotics. The following day, Aug. 10, 2005, Rice woke up and realized Davenport had left. Rice walked home. Once home, Rice heard sirens and saw on the news that Rowles’ home was set on fire. Later that day, Huff and Rice were detained and questioned by Youngstown police.

Criminal Division Chief Ralph Rivera said, based on the history of Huff and Rice in the state prison system, it is highly likely they will not follow the rules of their release if they are paroled. Huff is has a well-documented history of disobedience, racking up 60 rules infractions dating back to June 5, 2008, with 46 of those infractions occurring in the past 10 years.

Rice has had 12 rules infractions dating back to May 2007, with seven of those occurring in the past 10 years. Rice’s most recent infraction involved possession of synthetic cannabinoids. Rice’s prison report also reveals that he has not taken advantage of the many programs and activities during his time in prison. While Rice has been incarcerated the past 16 years, he has not earned his General Educational Development certificate. He also has not completed a victim-awareness program.

Huff and Rice have parole hearings in June.

Laura E. Austen, deputy director, Policy and Outreach for the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, said she does not comment on pending parole cases for inmates.


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