WARREN - An 18-year-old teen from Niles apologized before a judge sentenced him Wednesday to four years in prison for his involvement with a gang and his role in the beating last fall of a 50-year-old man.
Jamaz Lamont Protho of Royal Mall Drive pleaded guilty to charges of felonious assault and participating in a criminal gang known as the Savages. Both charges included specificiations of gang membership that added another year behind bars to the three years sentenced on the actual charges.
''He made some wrong choices,'' said Protho's attorney, Maureen Walsh.
She pointed out that prosecutors dismissed four other charges, including another felonious assault charge in which the attorney said her client helped a woman who was being held against her will by gang members. A drug charge also was dismissed in exchange for Protho's plea before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay.
In January, McKay sentenced Daniel Jay Uncapher, 20, of Youll Street to one year in prison for his involvement with the Savages.
Cases are still pending against two underaged teenagers from the gang in juvenile court, where another underaged boy was sentenced to 2 1/2 years and a teenaged girl was sentenced to one year for her role in the kidnapping of the young woman.
A case is still pending against Douglas Edward McGuire, 18, of Washington Street, who faces charges of trafficking a counterfeit controlled substance, robbery, kidnapping and felonious assault. He is scheduled to appear at a pre-trial hearing before Judge Ronald Rice April 25. McGuire is free on $50,000 bond.
All the gang members were indicted in December.
''Savages, in addition to its common name, has one or more common identifying signs, symbols or colors,'' the indictment states.
One of the crimes the gang is linked to is a Sept. 8 street fight on North Bentley Avenue when three people walking down the street were confronted by a carload of people who took issue with them walking in the roadway. A police report indicates that four people, including Protho, got out of the car and began beating a man in the group before jumping back into a Jaguar and fleeing.
A prosecutor said in court Wednesday that the victim suffered a permanent eye injury.
The group also is accused of the Sept. 16 kidnapping the 21-year-old woman who was held hostage on North Chestnut Avenue, where she was ''pistol whipped, stomped on with spikes, beaten with a belt and kicked.''
A relative of the victim told police that the victim ''knows who it is but she is terrified to tell because they threatened to kill her kids and family. She also thinks it is the so-called gang members - Savages,'' police reports state.