Howland woman pleads guilty in case of tampering

WARREN — A Howland woman arrested in connection to the Feb. 7 police-involved fatal shooting outside the Howland Giant Eagle has pleaded guilty to one charge of tampering with evidence.

Tina Davis, 34, of Stillwagon Road, appeared Thursday before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald J. Rice, who ordered the Adult Probation Department to prepare a background report on Davis prior to sentencing.

Davis, who is free on $20,000 bond, faces a possible prison term of up to three years. A charge of obstruction of justice against Davis was dropped in exchange for the guilty plea, court records show.

Davis’ role in the case of Richard Latimer and his actions Feb. 7, 2017, were detailed in a news release from Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, which referred to a Bureau of Criminal Investigation report.

The report states Davis came to Howland police Feb. 8 to say her boyfriend, whom she stated was a Richard Writzes, had asked to borrow her black Springfield XD-9 9 mm semi-automatic handgun.

Watkins’ release states this was the same weapon used to kill Van Blevins, 44, about 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at his Weathersfield home. It was also in the possession of suspect Richard Latimer, 34, when he was shot and killed by police in the Howland Giant Eagle parking lot on East Market Street about 9:30 p.m.

Davis told police she knew Latimer by an alias.

About 11:30 a.m. Feb. 7, Latimer had asked to use Davis’ gun saying he was going shooting at a quarry, the report states. The woman gave the man her gun during lunch. In the report, Davis states she did not hear from the man again until about 7:25 p.m. that day, when he came to her apartment in a frantic state saying he had just shot someone.

According to the report, the man wanted new clothes and to get gunshot residue off his hands. Davis gave him a sweatshirt to wear, according to Trumbull County assistant Prosecutor Christopher Becker.

The report states Davis, Latimer and Davis’ 8-year-old daughter drove to the Get Go in Howland and then to the Dollar General on East Market Street where Davis and her daughter went in to buy paper towels and bleach. Watkins, in his news release, states a Dollar General shopping bag containing paper towels, bleach and a receipt stamped 7:57 p.m. Feb. 7 were found in the vehicle in which Latimer was shot.

Latimer was killed by multiple gunshots by Howland police Chief Nick Roberts and Assistant Chief Jeffrey Urso. The two officers were cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting.