Official against killer’s release

WARREN – The county prosecutor wants a 38-year-old Trumbull County man, who has been locked up since he was convicted of murder when he was a teenager, to remain in prison.

In fact, Prosecutor Dennis Watkins suggested to members of Ohio’s Parole Board that Christopher Ferrell remain behind bars indefinitely.

”Ferrell is a sociopath who needs to be locked up for the rest of his natural life,” Watkins said in a letter he wrote to the board Tuesday.

Ferrell, currently confined to Grafton Correctional Institution, is scheduled for a parole hearing in September.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 1993 as the leader of a teenage burglary ring that pulled off a series of armed break-ins at homes in western Pennsylvania along with Portage, Geauga and Trumbull counties.

The other teens ranged in age from 17 to 13.

On Feb. 11, 1992, Ferrell and three other teens burglarized the Newton Township home of Douglas Lash, 19, who was returning home after working at a local grocery store when he interrupted the crime in progress.

Lash confronted the group with a machete. Ferrell pointed a .380 caliber pistol at him and took him into the living room with his hands behind his head and then told him to kneel down.

Ferrell, for no apparent reason, shot him in the back of the head, according to statements from the other teens.

Ferrell then told the 13-year-old to shoot the victim a second time. The group threw a blanket over the body of Lash and left the home with stolen goods.

All four suspects were arrested by Trumbull County Sheriff’s deputies within a month.

Watkins said while Ferrell was incarcerated in Trumbull County Jail he told the 13-year-old to admit to shooting the victim twice since he would not be tried as an adult.

The 13-year-old, along with the two other 17-year-olds, who didn’t handle the gun, have since been released from prison.

The crime took place seven days before Ferrell’s 18th birthday. Watkins said that if Ferrell had been a year older he most likely would have faced a potential death penalty.

”Ferrell was known to tote a sawed-off shotgun and prior to killing Mr. Lash, had duct-taped to a chair and terrorized an elderly, deaf woman with the shotgun,” according to Watkins’ letter.