Bond set at $3 million for suspect in slaying

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Murder defendant Shawn Hope is escorted by a Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office deputy Thursday morning to his arraignment at Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. Hope was arrested March 30 in Detroit and is accused in the Dec. 2 slaying of John Paul Keller at a house on Stephens Avenue NW in Warren. His bond was set at $3 million.

WARREN — A man who was brought back this week from Detroit to face murder charges and other felonies connected to a December shooting death at a Stephens Avenue NW home pleaded not guilty to the crimes Thursday.

Shawn L. Hope, also known as Shawn Johnson, 50, was arraigned on two counts of aggravated murder with firearms specifications, aggravated robbery with firearm specifications, two counts of kidnapping with firearm specifications, possessing weapons as a convicted felon and tampering with evidence.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald J. Rice set bond at $3 million for the man who was at large for about four months after the Dec. 2 slaying of John Paul Keller, 41, at 2313 Stephens Ave. NW.

Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Christopher Becker said he asked for a high bond because Hope, who has several aliases and is not a county resident, poses a definite flight risk. If found guilty, Hope could face up to 76 years in prison.

His case was assigned to Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Andrew D. Logan, who set the next pre-trial in the case for May 2.

On March 30, the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested Hope in Detroit. Before his arrest, the man made the U.S. Marshal Service’s list of “Dangerous Dozen” fugitives. On Wednesday, Hope was brought back to Trumbull County — one day after he was indicted by a grand jury.

The Stephens Avenue house where the fatal shooting took place is owned by Patricia Butch Binion, according to records with the Trumbull County Auditor’s Office, and neighbors said the woman Hope is accused of abducting, 36-year-old Alicia Marie Binion, also lived at that home.

According to Warren police reports, Hope and Alicia Binion were seen shortly after the shooting in a stolen white 1993 GMC high top van. Another woman, Tabitha Powell, told police she was forced into her own van following the shooting, but got out a short time later while Hope was in Rocky’s AM PM Market on West Market Street, according to a 911 call. Powell ran across the street for help and called 911 from a nearby home.

Police said Binion returned to Warren during the first weeks of the new year and was interviewed by detectives. Neighbors said Kellar was often at the Stephens Avenue NW home with Powell and Binion.