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17 year-old charged with murder in killing of 19-year-old in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN — At the end of an arraignment hearing Thursday in Mahoning County Juvenile Court, a court official told Lyndale Wilkins Jr., 17, he could hug his parents before he was taken back to the juvenile detention center.

He turned from his place opposite Magistrate Karen Romano Melone and walked toward them.

A moment later, he, his father and a woman were hugging and crying, as the woman reassured Wilkins he would be OK. At that moment, he did not seem so sure.

Wilkins was charged Tuesday night with murder in the shooting death of Zarian Dothard, 19, in the 500 block of East Judson Avenue on the South Side.

Wilkins Jr. was taken to the juvenile justice center.

The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office identified the victim in a press release Thursday afternoon. An autopsy will be performed on Dothard’s body, the release stated.

Youngstown police said the family of the 17-year-old suspect in the case, who they did not identify at the time, turned him in to police “at the same time” that police arrived at the scene of the shooting and found the victim lying in the driveway on Judson with a gunshot wound. Police were alerted to the shooting at 10:10 p.m.

Officers began chest compressions on Dothard until ambulance personnel arrived and took him to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, where he died, police said in a news release Wednesday morning.

At the arraignment hearing, Magistrate Karen Romano Melone notified Wilkins that he is facing an unspecified-felony murder charge, a gun specification and a specification of forfeiture of a weapon.

The murder charge is one that would result in a prison sentence of 15 years to life if he were facing the adult version of the charge, plus an additional three years for the gun, Melone said.

Also during the hearing, Melone told Wilkins that he is going to remain in detention at the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center at least until his next hearing before Judge Theresa Dellick of Mahoning County Juvenile Court.

Because of the type of charge Wilkins faces and because he is 17, the charges require a mandatory bindover to the adult-level common pleas court as long as Dellick finds probable cause that Wilkins may have committed the crimes.

Wilkins was not represented by an attorney Thursday, but he will be at his next hearing, Romano Melone said.

Dellick will hold that hearing, called a probable cause, in the next seven to 10 days, Romano-Melone said. If the case is bound over, and he is indicted, he will be tried as an adult, Romano-Melone said.

Anyone with information on the homicide or others is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 330-746-2583 or the Youngstown Police Department at 330-746-8973. Tips can be left anonymously.

The homicide was the tenth homicide of the year in Youngstown. There were 22 homicides in all of 2022 in the city. Tuesday’s homicide was the second once since Sunday.

Another homicide occurred Wednesday evening. The body of William Miller, 49, was found in a vehicle on Steel Street where it meets Salt Springs Road.

Have an interesting story? Contact Ed Runyan by email at erunyan@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.

emotional at hearing

By ED RUNYAN

Staff writer

YOUNGSTOWN — At the end of an arraignment hearing Thursday in Mahoning County Juvenile Court, a court official told Lyndale Wilkins Jr., 17, he could hug his parents before he was taken back to the juvenile detention center.

He turned from his place opposite Magistrate Karen Romano Melone and walked toward them.

A moment later, he, his father and a woman were hugging and crying, as the woman reassured Wilkins he would be OK. At that moment, he did not seem so sure.

Wilkins was charged Tuesday night with murder in the shooting death of Zarian Dothard, 19, in the 500 block of East Judson Avenue on the South Side.

Wilkins Jr. was taken to the juvenile justice center.

The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office identified the victim in a press release Thursday afternoon. An autopsy will be performed on Dothard’s body, the release stated.

Youngstown police said the family of the 17-year-old suspect in the case, who they did not identify at the time, turned him in to police “at the same time” that police arrived at the scene of the shooting and found the victim lying in the driveway on Judson with a gunshot wound. Police were alerted to the shooting at 10:10 p.m.

Officers began chest compressions on Dothard until ambulance personnel arrived and took him to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, where he died, police said in a news release Wednesday morning.

At the arraignment hearing, Magistrate Karen Romano Melone notified Wilkins that he is facing an unspecified-felony murder charge, a gun specification and a specification of forfeiture of a weapon.

The murder charge is one that would result in a prison sentence of 15 years to life if he were facing the adult version of the charge, plus an additional three years for the gun, Melone said.

Also during the hearing, Melone told Wilkins that he is going to remain in detention at the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center at least until his next hearing before Judge Theresa Dellick of Mahoning County Juvenile Court.

Because of the type of charge Wilkins faces and because he is 17, the charges require a mandatory bindover to the adult-level common pleas court as long as Dellick finds probable cause that Wilkins may have committed the crimes.

Wilkins was not represented by an attorney Thursday, but he will be at his next hearing, Romano Melone said.

Dellick will hold that hearing, called a probable cause, in the next seven to 10 days, Romano-Melone said. If the case is bound over, and he is indicted, he will be tried as an adult, Romano-Melone said.

Anyone with information on the homicide or others is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 330-746-2583 or the Youngstown Police Department at 330-746-8973. Tips can be left anonymously.

The homicide was the tenth homicide of the year in Youngstown. There were 22 homicides in all of 2022 in the city. Tuesday’s homicide was the second once since Sunday.

Another homicide occurred Wednesday evening. The body of William Miller, 49, was found in a vehicle on Steel Street where it meets Salt Springs Road.

Have an interesting story? Contact Ed Runyan by email at erunyan@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.

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