Man says case woke him up

YOUNGSTOWN – Darius Easterly did himself a favor when he pleaded guilty to a shooting, according to his attorney.

Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge James Evans sentenced Easterly to seven years in prison after Easterly entered guilty pleas to charges of felonious assault, having weapons while under disability and, in an unrelated case, receiving stolen property and trafficking in marijuana.

He was sentenced for a July shooting in the former Westlake Terrace Public Housing Project that injured a man. The sentence was an agreed-upon sentence in his plea bargain.

”He accepted accountability and he did that knowing there is no way he will get probation or a community control sanction,” Ron Yarwood, one of his attorneys, said.

He noted that Easterly pleaded guilty to the original indictment, not a plea bargain, and he did that knowing he is going to prison.

Easterly said the case got his attention.

”I’ve been in a lot of trouble but this woke me up,” he told the judge.

Easterly said he is leaving a 1-year-old child, his girlfriend and a baby on the way and wants to make sure it never happens again.

”Just to leave them is messed up,” he said.

He promised to stay out of trouble in prison, get his GED and get back to his family, who were present in court.

Evans called Easterly’s record ”horrendous” but said the fact his family was supporting him showed that maybe he has changed. He said most of the time in similar cases, family members don’t even bother to show up in court.

Evans said the fact Easterly has been relatively trouble free since the shooting, has showed for every court appearance and has dressed appropriately all worked in his favor.

The city’s Municipal Court website lists arrests for the 27-year-old Easterly dating back to 2004 for the charges of assault, aggravated robbery, possession of drugs, weapons under disability, felonious assault, carrying concealed weapons and criminal trespass.

Yarwood said that since his arrest for the shooting, his client has changed his behavior because he knows he cannot continue to live like he was.