Teen accused in Austintown killing attends hearing in juvenile court
AUSTINTOWN — A 17-year-old accused of fatally shooting a man and wounding a woman at an Austintown apartment complex was in Mahoning County Juvenile Court for a hearing Wednesday.
Police say Ethan Richmond, 17, of Austintown, shot and killed Vincent Tarver, 22, and wounded Joleene Christy, 21, on Sept. 8 at Compass West apartments.
According to a police report, witnesses saw three males arguing with Tarver before shots were fired. The three were then seen fleeing toward Westgate Boulevard.
After speaking to witnesses, police arrested Richmond on Sept. 9. He is charged with murder with a three-year firearm specification, felonious assault with the same specification, and tampering with evidence. He is being held at the Mahoning County Juvenile Detention Center.
Juvenile court prosecuting attorney Anissa Modarelli and defense attorney Louis DeFabio said the hearing took place to set hearing dates to determine if probable cause exists in the case.
Given his age and the nature of the charges, Richmond likely will be bound over automatically to Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to be tried as an adult, but the prosecution must first show probable cause.
Both sides are collecting evidence for that purpose, including witness statements and police and autopsy reports.
An Oct. 18 teleconference will update the court on the status of evidence exchange between the prosecution and defense. A probable cause hearing is set for Feb. 6.
Modarelli said if probable cause is not established, Richmond will remain in the juvenile court’s jurisdiction.
Richmond denied the charges Sept. 11 during his arraignment. Juveniles do not enter pleas of guilty or not guilty, but instead either accept or deny the allegations against them.
During the arraignment, Magistrate Karen Romano Melone found Richmond indigent and appointed DeFabio as his counsel. She also ordered a competency evaluation for Richmond, which is scheduled for Friday.
The court also determined at the arraignment it was “contrary to the welfare of the youth to remain in the home” and ordered that he remain in detention “for his safety and the safety of the community.”
Austintown police detective Sgt. Adam Hess said another of the males seen fleeing the scene, Talim Malik Mumin, 21, of Austintown, was arrested Sept. 13 on felony charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.
Also Wednesday, Common Pleas Judge Scott Hunter bound Mumin’s case over to the Mahoning County grand jury. He remains in Mahoning County jail on $150,000 bond.
Hess said police have spoken to the other male spotted at the scene, but do not expect that charges will be filed against him.
“There are other charges pending on some other individuals, we are finishing some things up right now,” Hess said. “Those will probably be filed some time in the next week, and as the case progresses, there might be more people charged.”
The police report states first responders found Tarver just after 10 p.m. on the ground in the parking lot in front of 990 Compass West with gunshot wounds to his neck, upper chest and leg. Christy was found inside the apartment building there with a gunshot wound to her side.
Both were taken to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, where Tarver was pronounced dead. Christy was treated for her wound, and police collected her clothing as evidence. Hess said Christy is recovering from her injury.