Man gets year in gang case

WARREN – A 20-year-old man who police and prosecutors linked to a Niles gang known as the Savages was sentenced to a year in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of attempted participation in a criminal gang.

Several other charges – including kidnapping, assault and robbery – were dropped in exchange for the plea of guilt by Daniel Jay Uncapher of Youll Street, who appeared before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

Uncapher’s attorney, Sam Bluedorn, said, ”He wasn’t even really there when these other incidents took place. They just wanted to label him a member of the gang. He was really the most talented artist of the group, known for his tagging or the graffiti.”

Bluedorn worked out a deal for Uncapher to plead guilty to the third-degree felony charge that carries a maximum penalty of 36 months. More serious charges of felonious assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and participating in a criminal gang were dropped. The charges carried firearms and gang specifications that could have resulted in an additional one to three years on top of the first- and second-degree felonies that are punishable by up to eight or 10 years.

Uncapher, with tattoos extending up both forearms, said nothing before McKay sentenced him. He was due to be tried Monday.

Uncapher was indicted in December along with others accused of being members of the Savages, including 18-year-olds Douglas Edward McGuire of Washington Avenue and Jamaz Lamont Protho of Royal Mall Drive.

McGuire and Protho face the same charges Uncapher did. However, McGuire also faces a charge of trafficking a counterfeit controlled substance and Protho is facing a trafficking charge and an additional felonious assault charge.

McGuire is free on a $50,000 bond and scheduled to appear this morning at a pretrial before Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice. Protho remains in jail in lieu of bond and is scheduled for a pre-trial Feb. 6 before McKay.

Indictments against the trio indicated the Savages also includes three other juveniles, who were only named with initials, along with others who are yet unidentified.

”Savages, in addition to its common name, has one or more common identifying signs, symbols or colors,” the indictment states.

One of the incidents the gang is linked to is a street fight on North Bentley Avenue on Sept. 8 when three people were walking down the street and then confronted by a carload of people who took issue with them walking in the roadway. A report indicates the car turned around with its headlights off and then drove back into the group’s path before the headlights were turned on. Four people got out of the car and began beating a man in the group before jumping back into a Jaguar and fleeing.

The group is accused of kidnapping a 21-year-old woman on Sept. 16, and holding her hostage on North Chestnut Avenue, where she was ”pistol-whipped, stomped on with spikes, beaten with a belt and kicked,” according to reports.

A relative of the victim told police that the victim ”knows who it is, but she is terrified to tell because they threatened to kill her kids and family. She also thinks it is the so-called gang members – Savages,” reports state.