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Trial in Warren killing delayed

YOUNGSTOWN — Six men charged in two separate East Side murder cases won’t be going to trial until next year following pretrial hearings Monday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

The trial of three men charged with aggravated murder in the Nov. 18, 2018, shooting death of Christopher Jackson Jr., 21, of Warren, was supposed to begin Monday but is now pushed back to Jan. 4.

Jackson was found shot to death in a car at Bennington and Stewart avenues on the East Side. Another man with Jackson was seriously wounded but lived.

That postponement followed requests from prosecutors and defense attorneys to delay the trial. One of the requests came from defense attorney Jerry Ingram, who represents Stephon A. Hopkins, 24.

Ingram asked that the trial be postponed because the “coronavirus pandemic has effectively prevented (Ingram) from communicating with” Hopkins or completing an investigation into the facts of the case.

Ingram noted that he is 68, has pre-existing conditions and is in an at-risk category for contracting the virus. Ingram stated that he has been unable to visit Hopkins in the Mahoning County jail “because of the risk of exposure.”

The attorneys representing defendants Brian Donlow Jr., 26, and Lorice J. Moore, 24, also asked for the trial to be postponed. Judge Anthony D’Apolito is presiding over that case.

Ingram also stated that it may be difficult to hold the trial during the pandemic because of the possibility that audio evidence will be presented during the trial that will be difficult to hear in a socially distanced courtroom.

The last three defendants in the shooting death of Crystal Hernandez will go to trial Feb. 22. Hernandez, 23, died Jan. 24, 2019, at her apartment in the Victory Estates apartments on McBride Street.

She was shot in the head and neck while shielding her 2-year-old son as more than 40 bullets hit her apartment in the last of three shootings and retaliation shootings that day involving her boyfriend.

The three remaining defendants are Marquis Torres-Willis, 22; Maurice Redrick, 20; and Johntez Scrivens, 21. Donofrio is presiding over the case. The last jury trial date they had was in August.

A co-defendant, Larenz Rhodes, 20, was convicted of murder during a trial last month and was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

During the Rhodes trial, clear, plastic barriers were used to separate jurors and others in the courtroom. Some jurors also were seated in the back of the courtroom instead of along the left wall, and everyone in the courtroom was asked to wear a mask when possible.

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