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18-year-old charged in matriarch’s death

89-year-old city woman shot in back while sitting in living room

WARREN — An 18-year-old man was indicted Wednesday by a Trumbull County grand jury, accused of the shooting death of a family matriarch in February.

Shamar Askew, of Homewood Avenue SE, is charged with two counts of murder with firearm specifications, improperly discharging firearms at or into a habitation with firearms specifications and tampering with evidence.

Askew is accused of slaying Ruth Lewis, 89, who was sitting in her wheelchair Feb. 28 in the living room of 3178 Starlite Drive when she was struck in the back by a bullet. She was visiting on that Sunday with family members planning her son’s funeral. The son had died of cardiac trouble days earlier.

Askew, who is locked up at the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center, is scheduled to be arraigned 9 a.m. Monday before Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

According to Warren police reports, it appeared the woman was shot through the window as someone fired at the house. The report did not give a reason for the shooting.

Several Trumbull County 911 calls were placed as witnesses heard five to 10 shots. One caller said a silver vehicle and a white sport utility vehicle were driving erratically toward Southern Boulevard when she heard the shots, a report states.

Lewis was overseeing five generations of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, her family said.

A mother of eight, her extended family numbers in the range of 150, her daughters said.

She and late husband Robert Lewis founded R&R BBQ, and she had the beauty shop Magic Mirror on Niles Road. She worked at Packard Electric for 15 years and had worked in construction.

The incident in which Lewis died almost mirrors the fatal shooting of a Warren man 30 years earlier — a crime for which Lewis and two of her sons served prison time as a result of a feud between Lewis’ family and another family.

If convicted of all charges connected to Lewis’ death, Askew could face a possible 30-year-to-life prison sentence with each firearm specification adding three years to the minimum total.

On Wednesday, the grand jury also indicted:

• Neil J. Rossi, 66, in care of Trumbull County jail, importuning, three counts gross sexual imposition, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. Rossi, who also has a Cardigan Street, Niles, address, has been incarcerated at Trumbull County jail since Oct. 25, pending the posting of a $1 million bond. The case involves a victim under 13 years old and was investigated in July by Niles police.

• Scott H. McGlothlin, 62, of Newton Falls, two counts aggravated possession of drugs. McGlothlin, who has been in Trumbull County jail since Oct. 19, was the subject of an April 12 investigation by Newton Falls police.

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