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Postponed Youngstown murder trial rescheduled for March 28

YOUNGSTOWN — An aggravated murder trial that was postponed because of an outburst outside of the Mahoning County Courthouse in September 2020 is back on schedule for March 28.

Appeals in the matter have made their way through an appellate court and the Ohio Supreme Court.

Myckle J. Hughes, 24, of Campbell, was going to go on trial Sept. 16, 2020, before Judge John Durkin of Common Pleas Court.

Hughes, who is in the Mahoning County jail, faces charges of murder, aggravated murder and aggravated robbery. He is accused of killing Sean Bell, 18, on Oak Street Extension on Aug. 21, 2018. Bell recently had graduated from Chaney High School. Police initially responded to the scene of a car accident but found Bell’s body with gunshot wounds inside the vehicle.

If convicted of aggravated murder, Hughes could get a life prison sentence.

But Durkin had ordered that the trial be postponed, apparently because of the unavailability of a prosecution witness. The jurors had already been chosen.

As the jurors left the courthouse, family members of the murder victim were also leaving. One family member was angry about the postponement and expressed that anger within earshot of the jurors.

Durkin spoke with the jurors about the episode and concluded that the juror panel had been tainted, and declared a mistrial. A new trial was going to be held with new jurors.

But Hughes’ attorneys challenged that ruling, saying the circumstances required the charges against Hughes to be dismissed. When Durkin ruled against that motion, Hughes’ attorneys appealed to the Youngstown-based 7th District Court of Appeals and then to the Oho Supreme Court.

But last month, the high court refused to hear the case, sending it back to Durkin.

The judge held a telephone conference with the attorneys Tuesday, apparently just to set a trial and pretrial date. A pretrial hearing will be 10 a.m. Feb. 24.

erunyan@vindy.com

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