Mon. 10 a.m.: Penalty phase underway in Hamad trial

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Capital murder defendant Nasser Hamad, 48, listens to testimony Tuesday in the courtroom of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice. Police officers, witnesses and survivors of the Feb. 25 shooting outside Hamad’s Howland home were among those testifying so far.

WARREN – The penalty phase is underway this morning in the trial of a Howland man convicted last week on multiple criminal charges including two counts of aggravated murder.

The phase, known as mitigation, was temporarily halted this morning as defendant Nasser Hamad considered asking Trumbull Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice to allow him to remove his defense attorneys, whom he accused of colluding with the prosecution.

Rice advised Hamad to confer with his attorneys first, leading Hamad and his defense team to meet behind closed doors this morning before the jury was brought into the courtroom.

Hamad ultimately decided not to move forward with the claim, and the hearing has now begun.

In the mitigation phase, the jury will hear testimony and will give their recommendation to the judge whether Hamad should be sentenced to the death penalty or life in prison. The judge will take the recommendation under advisement, but he will make the ultimate decision.

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