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Acquitted murder defendant gets 4 years

Judge rules man violated parole with gun

Staff photo / Guy Vogrin Daron Warfield is shown at his murder trial in which he was found not guilty last week in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. A judge on Thursday sentenced him to four years in prison for a probation violation.

WARREN — The 32-year-old Warren man who last week gave a thumbs up as he left the courtroom after jurors acquitted him of attempted murder and felonious assault walked away sadly in handcuffs and chains Thursday, as a Trumbull County judge sentenced him to four years in prison.

Daron Warfield Jr. told Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Rice he is not guilty of a probation violation for a 2018 conviction of possession of heroin and cocaine charges. But Rice ruled otherwise, pointing to the man’s long criminal history that includes eight criminal cases against him in the last decade in common pleas court.

In testimony at Warfield’s trial last week, the male shooting victim from Niles told jurors he was looking for drugs in a southwest side neighborhood when he was shot three times. The man who limped to the witness stand had identified his shooter as Warfield to a police officer, as he lay in pain on a front porch of a Parkman Road SW home.

Jurors in acquitting Warfield, though, had some reasonable doubt about the testimony of the man and the Niles woman who also was shot on Jan. 7, 2020, at the corner of Parkman Road and Union Street SW.

During the probation violation hearing, Rice, at the urging of assistant Prosecutor Michael Burnett, said he didn’t need to have the same standard as jurors in deciding guilt.

“There were indications of criminal activity by the circumstances surrounding the case,” Rice told Warfield. “You have a list of criminal activity a mile long.”

Warfield, however, maintained he had not violated probation and maintained his innocence in the January 2020 shooting.

“I was accused of something that I didn’t do,” Warfield told the judge.

Both Burnett and Rice confirmed the attempted murder and assault charges against Warfield are the reason for the probation violation and not the recent jail sentence for a drug offense.

In April, Warfield received a six-month jail sentence from Rice after agreeing to a plea deal in a drug-trafficking case. In that case, prosecutors said Warfield was accused of selling 0.86 grams of cocaine last December to an informant working with the sheriff’s Trumbull Action Group drug task force.

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