Jury acquits man in bat assault case

YOUNGSTOWN – It took jurors an hour Wednesday to find a Sarna Avenue man not guilty of beating a man with a baseball bat in 2012.

Jurors in the courtroom of Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Lou D’Apolito returned their verdict of not guilty for Kory Jackson, 25, of Sarna Drive after a three-day trial that began Monday afternoon.

Jackson was charged with a February 2012 beating of Raphael Rodriguez with a baseball bat at the Grandview Street home of Rodriguez. Jackson’s brother, Kenneth Jackson, 30, pleaded guilty to a charge of felonious assault and will be sentenced later.

The accusations stemmed from an argument between Rodriguez and the Jackson brothers. Rodriguez’s stepdaughter is the girlfriend of Kenneth Jackson.

During closing arguments, Jackson’s attorney, James Lanzo, told jurors that Rodriguez told police only Kenneth Jackson hit him and that Kenneth Jackson admitted to hitting Rodriguez in the face with a fist.

He said a bat found at the scene with blood drops on it was never tested for fingerprints or to see who the blood belonged to.

A witness who told police that Kory Jackson hit Rodriguez was not even at the home, Lanzo said. Lanzo also said Rodriguez denied ever saying that Kory Jackson hit him with the bat.

Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Davis told the jury Lanzo’s witnesses were inconsistent with their testimony and that Rodriguez’s injuries did not come from being hit in the face.

Rodriguez had injuries on both sides of his face, Davis said.

”Those injuries couldn’t have come from one punch,” Davis said.

Davis also pointed out that Kenneth Jackson admitted in his plea to using a deadly weapon to beat Rodriguez.