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Defendant inquires about death penalty

55-year-old pleads not guilty in Liberty shooting that left victim, 20, blind

WARREN — The 55-year-old man accused in a shooting and gunfight with police in Liberty on June 10 has pleaded not guilty — but asked if he can request the death penalty.

Kevin Mallard of Youngstown is accused of approaching, shooting and blinding a 20-year-old Warren resident, as the victim sat behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz.

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon during a video arraignment in the chambers of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice.

But Mallard asked Rice if could ask to receive the death penalty, then was told it was not an option for him.

Video arraignment was held because when Trumbull officials were sent to pick up Mallard from the Mahoning County jail, doctors would not release him to deputies without a gurney. He is bedridden.

He will not be available for transport for at least two weeks, according to Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Burnett.

After accepting a plea of not guilty, Rice set his next pretrial hearing for July 19. Mallard was told he either could attempt to hire his own attorney for the next hearing or he could work with the court to determine if he qualifies for a public defender.

He is being held without bond.

THE INDICTMENT

Mallard has been indicted on attempted aggravated murder with a firearm specification; attempted murder with a firearm specification; inducing panic with a firearm specification; improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle and carrying concealed weapons.

He is accused by police of shooting Zach Woods, 20, at arm’s length in the temple with a Glock .40-caliber weapon, while at the corner of Belmont Avenue and East Liberty Street on June 10.

The indictment states Mallard walked back to his Humvee after the shooting and drove off.

Police officers responding to the shooting, however, stopped the Humvee and a shootout began — with dozens of shots fired.

Reports show police officers struck Mallard in the extremities several times.

The seven-page indictment details the scene at Belmont and East Liberty shortly before 3 p.m. The shooting was captured by several witnesses on cellphone videos, reports stated.

Mallard’s Humvee was stopped directly behind Woods’ vehicle in the northbound lane at the traffic light, the indictment states. Mallard exited his vehicle and approached the open driver’s side window of the Mercedes-Benz.

“Once the defendant (Mallard) was within arm’s length from his victim, he pulled a Glock .40-caliber handgun, loaded with hollow-point bullets, from his waistband and placed it to the side of the victim’s head,” the document stated.

The indictment states Mallard fired one shot, striking Woods in the left temple with the bullet traveling through both eye sockets and the nasal cavity.

MOM ASKS WHY

Natisha Lee, Zach Lee’s mother, wants to know why Mallard shot her son.

“He’s hiding something,” she said after the court proceeding. “What are you hiding? Who are you?”

Lee’s sister, Shampaine Phifer, who also attended, later called the plea “bull (expletive).”

“How can you plead not guilty when you walked up to a car and did this to someone you didn’t even (expletive) know?” she said.

Phifer said Mallard just recently moved to Ohio.

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