4th man arraigned in murder

WARREN – A fourth man charged in connection with a deadly home invasion at 918 South St. S.E. pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a series of charges in connection with the April 6 attacks.

Tyler Meardith, 23, formerly of 2825 Clearwater St. N.W., remains in Trumbull County Jail in lieu of a $2 million bond pending a pre-trial Wednesday in front of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

Meardith had been arrested and held in Cuyahoga Falls Jail on Monday and returned here for Wednesday’s court appearance.

It’s apparent from charges and wording in indictments that Meardith is being accused of entering the South Street house with co-defendant Michael B. Settle, 26, of Sherman Avenue, Niles, who police have already identified as the triggerman in the case.

Both men have $2 million bonds.

Settle is charged with aggravated murder and Meardith faces charges of complicity to aggravated murder.

Initial reports state that two masked men broke into the home of 48-year-old Lisa Prater shortly before 11:30 p.m., and shots were fired. Prater was treated for bullet wounds in her arm and leg, while Levels died of gunshot wounds in the chest.

U.S. Marshals picked up Settle on July 21 on a parole violation at his parents’ home in Niles.

Settle is also charged with felonious assault, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and having weapons while under disability. He is also facing a tampering with evidence charge.

Meardith faces complicity to all the same charges except the disability and the tampering charges.

Two other men, whose roles in the murder-shooting are still unclear, are being held on $1 million bonds and face charges of complicity to murder. James J. Stein, 29, of 301 Atlantic Ave. N.E., and Beau Palmer, 30, of 1806 Clermont Ave. N.E., are each facing complicity to charges of murder, aggravated burglary, felonious assault and aggravated robbery all with firearms specifications, which increases the penalty if convicted.

It’s unclear if Stein and Palmer were at the scene or perhaps helped in the planning. The complicity charges, however, mean all four men can face life in prison.

Levels’ death marked the city’s first homicide of the year and the first serious injury from gunfire in 2014.