Tuesday, 04 December 2018 12:51

Akron Man Sentenced to Life on Rape Charges

An Akron man will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of rape, according to the Summit County Prosecutor's Office.

Back in October, Raymond Smiley pled guilty to raping his girlfriend's young daughter on two separate occassions.

Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce sentenced Smiley, who isn't eligible for parole for 20 years, on Tuesday.

See the full press release from the Prosecutor's Office below: 

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce sentenced Raymond Smiley, 39, of McGowan Street in Akron, to LIFE IN PRISON for raping a young girl.

On October 23, 2018 Smiley pled guilty to the following charges:

  • Two Counts of Rape – Felonies of the 1st degree

Smiley admitted to raping his girlfriend’s young daughter on two separate occasions. 

“What this defendant did was horrifying. I am very grateful he will spend a significant amount of time in prison where he won’t be able to hurt innocent young girls,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “The survivor and her mother showed tremendous strength in standing up to him. My prosecutors and victim advocates did an outstanding job in getting justice.” 

Smiley will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years in prison.

Judge Croce also designated Smiley a Tier III sex offender. If he is released from prison, Smiley will have to register with the local sheriff every 90 days for the rest of his life.

Published in Local
Thursday, 11 October 2018 11:54

Bitting Sentenced to Life in 4-Yr-Old's Death

Darnell Bitting, 32, of Akron will spend the rest of his life in prison for the shooting death of 4-year-old Janaya Swain back in February outside his Akron home.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce handed down the sentence Wednesday, adding that Bitting will not be eligible for parole for 56 and a half years. Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said in a statement that the "hope is that (the) sentence brings Janaya's family some peace." 

See the full press release from Summit County Prosecutor Bevan Walsh's office below: 

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce sentenced Darnell Bitting, 32 of Georgia Street in Akron, to life in prison for the shooting death of 4-year-old Janaya Swain. Bitting will be eligible for parole after serving 56 ½ years.

 On Friday, October 5, 2018 a Summit County jury found Bitting guilty of the following charges:

  • Two counts of Murder with Firearm Specifications – special felonies
  • Six counts of Felonious Assault with Firearm Specifications – felonies of the 2nd degree 

“This tragedy will leave its mark for years to come. Four-year-old Janaya was full of life and always there to help a friend. She will be sorely missed,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “We are pleased to know the man responsible for her death will never again have the chance to hurt an innocent life. Our hope is that today’s sentence brings Janaya’s family some peace.”

At around 10:30pm on February 16, 2018, De’Azha Swain pulled up to a home on Mercer Avenue in Akron to retrieve some personal items. Four young girls, ages two, four, six, and seven, and their grandmother were also inside the vehicle. De’Azha got into an argument with Darnell Bitting, who was inside the home at the time. Bitting came out of the home with an AK-47 and fired the weapon. A shot struck and killed four-year-old Janaya Swain.

Published in Local
Thursday, 13 September 2018 11:18

Akron Shooter Sentence to 7 Years

Albert Wade, 46, of Akron was sentenced to 7 years in prison on Thursday in connection to a shooting outside of an Akron convenience store that left a man wounded back in May.

Court records show that on May 14th, Wade was approached by a man who was asking for money. The two argued, Wade went to his car, came back with a gun, and shot the man.

Wade pleaded guilty and was sentenced immediately by Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce.

See the full press release from Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh below: 

AKRON, Ohio (Thursday, September 12, 2018) – Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Albert Wade, 46, of Charles Street in Akron, pled guilty to shooting another man who was standing outside an Akron convenience store. 

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce immediately sentenced Wade to seven years in prison. 

Wade pled guilty to the following charges:

  • Felonious Assault with a Firearm Specification – a felony of the 2nd degree
  • Having Weapons Under Disability – a felony of the 3rd degree

On May 14, 2018, Wade was approached by a man asking for money outside a convenience store on East Exchange Street in Akron. The two began to argue. Wade went to his vehicle, then went back to the man and shot him. The victim, a 49-year-old Akron man, was shot in the shoulder and survived.

Published in Local
Friday, 11 March 2016 14:55

Judge: Prade Won't Get New Trial

Former Akron police captain Doug Prade won't get a new trial in the murder of his ex-wife Margo Prade.

That's the ruling issued today by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce, which says that Prade "failed to demonstrate" that bite mark DNA and eyewitness evidence would establish a "strong probability" that it would have changed the verdict against him.

Prade was exonerated in 2012, a decision Judge Croce eventually reversed.

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Previous Coverage:

11/6/15: Prade Hearing Wraps Up

Published in Local