Trial opens in ATM case
WARREN – A jury of four men and eight women were bused to four locations Monday afternoon and are set to hear testimony this morning from a mother and son who say they were confronted in their home last February by a gunman who forced them to drive to a ATM machine before robbing them and making a getaway in their car.
Assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker told jurors that Reiko Williamson and her son will explain how they couldn’t mistake the jacket with a studded cross design on the back worn by Taylor Ervin-Williams when he burst into their Charles Street S.E. home with a gun.
Becker also revealed how a gun recovered in a lot near the intersection of Elm Road and Washington Street N.E. tested positive for Ervin-Williams’ DNA.
Ervin-Williams’ attorney, Gil Rucker, challenged jurors in his opening statements to wait to hear all the evidence. He noted that the only time his client was identified by the victims was when he was shackled and surrounded by police officers after his arrest.
Ervin-Williams could face more than 25 years behind bars if convicted on charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and two counts of kidnapping – all with a three-year mandatory firearm specification. He also was indicted on charges of tampering with evidence, failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and having weapons while under disability since indictments point out that he was previously convicted of a burglary in 2011.
The 19-year-old and his mother said they were forced to drive a man to an ATM near the Hot Dog Shoppe. Once there, the gunman got about $300 from the victim’s account and another $40 in cash they had.
The victims ran away and called police, leaving the gunman with their car, police said.
Officers spotted the stolen car near the Charles home and chased it through the downtown area, before the driver jumped out of the car near the intersection of Belmont and School Street N.W., Becker said.
Officers followed tracks to Ervin-Williams’ home at 354 Belmont, where they said he entered and managed to sneak into an adjoining apartment at 352 Belmont.
Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice reminded jurors to report to the Courthouse before 9 a.m. today whether or not county offices close because of frigid weather.