Trial set in abduction — robbery case
WARREN – A 20-year-old Warren man, who has been in jail for almost a year, is scheduled today for a jury trial on a series of charges stemming from a February robbery-abduction in which family members were forced to pull money out of an automatic teller machine at gunpoint.
After a jury is selected in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice, the panel will be bused to three locations where the crime was staged, including the victims’ home on Charles Avenue S.E., the ATM machine near the Hot Dog Shoppe, and a home on Belmont Street N.W. where police say Taylor Ervin-Williams tried to hide out to avoid officers who were chasing him on Feb. 22.
Assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker made the request for the formal jury view to allow jurors to get the feeling for the different locations that were all part of the crime.
The defendant is represented by attorney Gil Rucker.
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 convicted of a burglary in 2011, making it illegal for him to possess a firearm.
According to Warren police many of whom are scheduled to testify at the trial Ervin-Williams barged into a home on Charles Avenue S.E. disguised in a bandanna or hoodie, held a gun on a woman and her 19-year-old son who was sleeping on the couch, and demanded money.
Two younger children were sleeping elsewhere in the house.
The 19-year-old and his mother were forced to drive Ervin-Williams to the ATM at the intersection of West Market Street and Tod Avenue N.W. about 10:45 p.m., according to police. 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 Ervin-Williams with their car, police said.
Officers on both afternoon and midnight shifts became involved on a late Friday and early Saturday search. They spotted the stolen car near the Charles home and chased it through the downtown area, before Ervin-Williams jumped out of the car near the intersection of Belmont and School Street N.W.
Officers tracked Ervin-Williams to his home at 354 Belmont, where they said he entered and managed to sneak into an adjoining apartment at 352 Belmont.
Police said they found him pretending to be asleep in bed in the adjoining apartment. Officers said he was identified by the victims. The bandanna and a toy gun were found in a dresser near where he was pretending to sleep, police said.
An actual handgun that police say was discarded by Ervin-Williams was found within a day by officers near Handyman Hardware on Elm Road N.E.
A 19-year-old woman, Breyaja Emerson, who lived at the same 354 Belmont address, and who police say tried to convince them that no one was inside the building, was charged with obstructing justice. She pleaded guilty to that charge in August and was sentenced in October to five years probation.