Thurs. 3:45 p.m.: Plea deal heads off murder trial of Warren Township man

WARREN – A judged today sentenced a Warren Township man to 11 years in prison following a guilty plea that staved off a murder trial set to begin Monday in the 2016 shooting death of a Bane Street man.

Jimmie Ray Stella Jr., 38, Seventh Street SW, appeared with his attorney John Juhasz before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald J. Rice this morning. Rice pronounced sentencing of eight years in prison plus three more years because a firearm was used in the crime.

Stella pleaded guilty to murder, improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation and two counts of having weapons under disability. The first two charges included firearm and repeat offender specifications.

Stella was accused of killing Mark Cleveland, 65, who died Oct. 17, 2016, in his second-floor bedroom from a gunshot wound to his leg. According to police reports, Cleveland was shot shortly before 4 a.m. by gunfire coming from a passing vehicle. Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Becker said gunshots were also fired by the victim and others in addition to Cleveland.

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