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City man, 22, pleads guilty in shooting

Assaulted 3 people with gun at King’s Court tavern

YOUNGSTOWN — Machai A. Cheatham, 22, of Potomac Avenue, will be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 5 after pleading guilty last week to two counts of felonious assault with gun specifications in the Dec. 4 shooting of three men in the King’s Court tavern, 3229 South Ave.

Prosecutors and the defense are jointly recommending that Cheatham get 6 to 7 1/2 years in prison. Other charges were dismissed as a result of the plea agreement.

Cheatham, who has been in the Mahoning County jail since Feb. 8, was indicted in late December on three counts of felonious assault and single counts of illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises and inducing panic.

The three victims were 19, 30 and 33 years old. Two were listed in critical condition and one was listed in stable condition after the 2:08 a.m. shootings, police said at the time.

A Youngstown police report states that an officer was working security at the South Side tavern when he saw a large crowd running from the business and then saw the bar’s owner pointing his gun at Cheatham, who also had a gun. The officer ordered Cheatham to drop his weapon, which he did.

When other officers arrived, Cheatham was placed in the back of a police cruiser, and an officer went inside the bar and found a 19-year-old victim in the middle of the dance floor with at least one gunshot wound. Ambulance personnel took him to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

Two other men arrived at the hospital in other vehicles to be treated for gunshot wounds from the episode, a Youngstown police report states.

After Cheatham’s arraignment hearing in Youngstown Municipal Court on Dec. 5, Cheatham’s mother, Yalonda Blackshear of Youngstown, said her son “was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is not a criminal. He is not what they are trying to make him out to be at all.”

A good Samaritan inside the business rendered aid to the victims prior to ambulance personnel and police arriving, police said. Detectives interviewed dozens of witnesses.

During Cheatham’s arraignment, city prosecutors said Cheatham had no criminal record.

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