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:
“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.
Darren Townsend, 38, of Akron, pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in persons, six counts of promoting prostitution, three counts of compelling prostitution, and one count of corrupting another with drugs. He was facing up to 38 years in prison if he were convicted on all of the charges he was facing, but after his guilty plea, was sentenced to 14 years by Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Amy Corrigall Jones.
According to the Beacon Journal, Noah Munyer, Townsend's attorney told the paper, "He decided the risk of a jury verdict was too much."
Pearl Coffey, 35, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted trafficking in persons, compelling prostitution, and one count of corrupting another with drugs. She has not yet been sentenced.
One of the victims, who was 17-years-old at the time, told the court that Townsend would pick her up from high school and take to several different locations throughout Akron where she would have sex for money.
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:
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.
Former Akron Fire Department Union Treasurer Joseph Ruhlin, 41, has pled guilty to embezzling nearly half-a-million dollars from the Union while he was in charge of the funds, according to a release from Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh's office.
Ruhlin, who was treasurer of the department's Union Local 330 from January of 2011 through March of 2017, admitted to stealing about $500,000 during his time in office.
When he was charged with Theft in Office, Ruhlin fled Akron to North Carolina. Authorities eventually caught up with him and he was extradited back to Summit County.
Ruhlin, who is charged with Theft in Office and Tampering with Records, both 3rd degree felonies, is due in Summit County Common Pleas Court on March 13, 2018 at 1 p.m. for a restitution hearing and is scheduled to me sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Breaux immediately following.
Summit County Common Pleas Court has partnered with Greenleaf Family Center, to provides addiction and mental health assessments for low-risk criminal offenders, in an effort to steer them into intervention and recovery--instead of jail.
Judge Amy Corrigall Jones explains, ""If you address the underlying issues, albeit drugs and alcohol, mental illness, or intellectual disabilities; ultimately, you're going to reduce recidivism, poor decision making, and reduce crime. In the end, that will save our taxpayers money".
Convicted Akron rapist Roland Pyle, 52, was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, according to Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.
Pyle's victim came forward to a school counselor recently, alleging that Pyle raped her back in 2013 on her 11th birthday. Pyle was charged with one count of felony rape of a victim under the age of 13 and one count of gross sexual imposition, a third degree felony.
Pyle is not eligible for parole.
In a 5-1 ruling Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of Summit County Prosecutor's decision to uphold a 2014 ruling that put convicted murder, and former Akron Police Captain Douglas Prade back in prison.
Back in 2013, new DNA testing of a lab coat Prade's former wife, Dr. Margo Prade, was wearing at the time of her murder in 1997 was ordered. In a subsequent hearing in Common Pleas Court, Prade was found not guilty of the murder he was convicted of in 1998. At that point, Prade had already served 15 years of his life sentence.
Immediately following the 2013 ruling, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh filed an appeal and in 2014 Prade was ordered back to jail after his original conviction was upheld.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court said that Walsh was justified in her appeal, and upheld the original conviction once again, leaving Prade in jail to serve his original life sentence.
Click here for more from the Ohio Supreme Court.
Charles Queer, 64, of Tallmadge, was sentenced to 3 years in prison, fined $15,000, and has had his license suspended for the rest of his life, in Summit County Common Pleas Court Friday morning. Judge Joy Malek-Oldfield handing down that sentence.
Back in March of 2016, 17-year-old Patricia Powell's car had broken down along I-76 in Akron. Queer, who was driving under the influence, slammed his car into the back of Powell's vehicle, killing her.
Queer pleaded no contest to two felony counts of aggravated vehicle homicide and one misdemeanor count of operating under the influence of alcohol. In court, Queer's attorney said that while he's entering a no contest plea, his client is not denying guilt.
The family of Powell recalled that in court, Queer had expressed no remorse and had never apologized for taking her life. Powell was a senior at Ellet High School, scheduled to graduate that year.
Trent Turner, 28, of Cleveland, will spend the rest of his life for the murder of 27-year-old Corey S. Seibel.
The shooting happened back in November of 2015, when Turner and two other accomplices entered Seibel's Green home, attempting to steal a pound of marijuana. During the encounter, Seibel was shot twice by Turner, while Turner's girlfriend and child slept in a nearby room. Both accomplices have already been sentenced to 14 years apiece in the case. Turner, who the other men described as the shooter, was sentenced to life in prison by Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Amy Corrigal Jones on Tuesday. He will not be eligible for parole for at least 36 years.
Below is the release from Summit County Prosecutor Sheri Bevan Walsh:
AKRON, Ohio () – Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Amy Corrigall-Jones sentenced Trent Turner, 28, of Ansel Road in Cleveland, to Life in Prison for the murder of 27-year-old Corey Seibel. Turner will be eligible for parole after serving 36 years in prison. Judge Corrigall-Jones also determined Tuner is a repeat violent offender under Ohio law.
On August 1, 2017 a Summit County jury found Turner guilty of the following charges:
“Corey leaves behind a family which will miss him every day, especially his 7-year-old daughter. No amount of justice will bring Corey back, but society is safer knowing Mr. Turner will be in prison for a long period of time,” said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Margaret Scott. “ would have been Corey’s 29th birthday. My hope is that his family finds some solace knowing the person who committed these crimes is finally being held accountable.”
In November of 2015, Turner was with two other people when all three went to Seibel’s apartment in Green to rob him. During the robbery, Turner shot Seibel several times. Two of Seibel’s friends were in the apartment at the time. Turner’s co-defendants, Spencer Sims and Ty’Shawn Henderson, both pled guilty and were each sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Suspected Akron arsonist Stanley Ford, 58, has entered a "not guilty" plea to 29 charges against him related to two deadly house fires that left a total of 9 people dead, and another car fire.
Ford was arraigned in Summit County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday morning, where Judge Christine Croce left bond at $7 million. He's charged with 29 total counts, including 22 counts of aggravated murder. He's pled not guilty to all of the charges against him.
Meanwhile, the family of the victims killed in the April 18, 2016 fire, says they are in favor of the death penalty for Ford.
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for next week in Summit County.
Billy Patterson, 19, of Akron plead guilty in Summit County Common Pleas Court Tuesday to breaking into his elderly neighbor's home and raping her.
The charges against Patterson were 1st degree felony Rape, Aggravated Burglary, also a first degree felony, and Felonious Assault in the second degree.
The incident in question occured back on September 24, 2016, in the middle of the night. Court documents show Patterson broke into the 71-year-old woman's home, hit her in the face multiple times, and choked here to near unconciousness. Then he proceeded to rape the victim, who she says she'd known for nearly 10 years.
Immediately after his guilty plea, Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Joy Malek Oldfield sentenced Patterson to 15 years in prison. He's also ordered to register as a sex offender with the local sheriff every 90 days after his release from prison.
Jeffrey Conrad of Toledo has been sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Russell.
Russell's body was found in the backyard of her Cuyahoga Falls home back in August of 2014 by her then 14-year-old daughter. Russell, who had a protection order against him, was arrested and charged with murder. A jury found him guilty of Aggravated Murder, Felonious Assault, Violating a Protection Order, and Domestic Violence.
In addition to the life sentence, Summit County Common Pleas Court Paul Gallagher tacked on 11 years for the assault of a fellow inmate. Conrad, remorseless in court Wednesday, wore a smile as he maintained his innocence in the murder of Russell whose body was found in her backyard. Conrad was convicted by a jury back in 2015.
Conrad made the news during the murder trial when he chose to represent himself and then, threatened to shoot other people in the courtroom. Later he decided that he didn't want to be in the courtroom any longer and removed himself, leaving no one to represent him and the defense of his case. He was in court for sentencing, and according to the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, showed no remorse and claimed his innocence while smiling with the family of Amanda Russell present.
Kerieda Beavers, 22, of Ericsson Avenue in Akron has been sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of her boyfriend. Beavers, who will not be eligible for parole for 18 years, was sentenced Friday in Summit County Common Pleas Court by visiting Judge H.F. Inderlied.
On January 9, 2016, Beavers and her boyfriend Tevael Parker got into an argument. Beavers, according to court documents, shot Parker in the head killing him. Parker was 22-years-old. Beavers said she and Parker were together for three years before the shooting. She was convicted by a Summit County jury back on November 23, 2016.
In a statement released Friday, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said, "I am pleased my office was able to secure justice for this victim and his family. I will continue to aggressively prosecute gun violence in our community."
Brock Tipping won't be getting out of jail anytime soon for murdering one woman and raping another.
Tipping was sentenced to life in prison in Summit County Common Pleas Court, and will be eligible for parole after 18 years, in the two cases - the murder of Crystal Palm and the rape of another woman.
Palm's relatives and the rape victim confronted Tipping in court.
Palm died in a fire in November 2014 on East Emerling Avenue, and was found stabbed to death.
DNA from that scene ended up connecting Tipping to a rape which happened that past October.
(Summit County Prosecutor's Office, news release) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Amy Corrigall-Jones sentenced Brock Tipping, 32, of Sanford Avenue in Akron, to Life in Prison. Tipping is eligible for parole after serving 18 years of his sentence.
On November 23, 2015, Tipping pled guilty to the following charges:
Murder – a special felony
Rape – a felony of the first degree
On November 15, 2014, crews responded to reports of a fire at a home on East Emerling Avenue in Akron. When firefighters arrived, they found the victim, 33-year-old Crystal Palm, dead. After quickly extinguishing the fire, crews determined Palm had been stabbed to death. The Summit County Medical Examiner found Palm had been stabbed eight times around the head and neck.
While investigating the murder, authorities tested DNA found at the scene. That led investigators to connect Tipping to a rape which occurred about one month earlier, on October 19, 2014.
An Akron man will spend 15 years behind bars for raping a 12-year old girl.
33-year old Brandon Harrison of Marcy Street pleaded guilty to rape and other charges in an unrelated case, including having weapons under disability, failure to comply with a court order, and non-support of dependents.
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Teodosio immediately sentenced Harrison to an 11 year prison term for the rape charge and another four years for the other charges.
Harrison was also labeled a Tier III sex offender.
(Summit County Prosecutor's Office, news release) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Brandon Harrison, 33, of Marcy Street in Akron, pled guilty to raping a 12-year-old girl.
Harrison pled guilty to the following charge:
Rape of a Person Under the Age of 13 – a felony of the first degree
Harrison also pled guilty to the following charges in an unrelated case:
Having a Weapon Under Disability – a felony of the third degree
Failure to Comply with a Court Order – a felony of the third degree
Non-Support of Dependents – a felony of the fourth degree
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Teodosio immediately sentenced Harrison to a total of 15 years in prison; 11 years for the rape charge and four years for the other charges. Harrison was also designated a Tier III sex offender, meaning he will have to register with the local sheriff every 90 days for the rest of his life.
“Brandon Harrison took advantage of a young girl. I’m glad to know the community is safer with him spending a significant amount of time behind bars,” said Prosecutor Walsh.