Three inmates at the Trumbull County Jail have taken a corrections officer hostage and have barricaded themselves in a pod on the fourth floor. Major Thomas Stewart said at least one of the inmates involved has a weapon.
Inmates Kevin Johns, David Martin and Richard Ware took a corrections officer hostage around 3:30 p.m. today. Hostage negotiators and tactical teams from around the area and Cleveland are on the scene.
North Park Avenue and High Street have been closed to traffic.
Tribune Chronicle / Colin Harris
Johns was sentenced on April 18 to 28 years behind bars for raping a local woman and kidnapping another woman about a year ago.
Ware has three different aggravated robbery cases pending in Trumbull Common Pleas court.
Martin is accused of killing 21-year-old Jeremy Cole and wounding Melissa Putnam on Sept. 27, 2012, at a home on Oak Circle S.W. His trial was to begin this month but was rescheduled for Aug. 27 so that Martin could undergo a competency test. Martin could face the death penalty if convicted of the aggravated murder charge and the aggravated circumstances.
Trumbull County assistant prosecutor Chris Becker, who is handling the case, has filed a motion asking for Martin to be shackled for his murder trial, saying the accused murderer had blurted out a threat heard by corrections officers in the Trumbull County Jail.
Becker said in the motion that sometime after Martin appeared in Logan's court Feb. 21 for the continuation of a suppression hearing, that Martin told a corrections officer, "When I go to trial, I'm going to grab the first gun I can when I have a chance to. I'm not going to death row!"
An inner-jail report from the end of March cautioned, "All officers need to use extreme caution when dealing with (Martin) due to the nature of his charges and for the safety and security of the staff and facility."
Cole's mother, Wanda, spoke to a reporter at the jail scene today saying, "This ain't a pretty scene for anyone to go through. I think this is crazy myself. I hope no one else dies because of his stupidity. It'd be nice to get the full story of why he killed my son."
Cole's sister, Amy Biles said, "I hope he dies. He said he ain't going to prison, so let (the police) kill him."
This is a developing story and updates will be posted. Read Thursday's Tribune Chronicle for complete details.