YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — An attorney for a man who a grand jury refused to indict for murder asked a judge Tuesday to dismiss a related weapons charge against his client.
Tony Meranto filed the motion in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on behalf of Aaron Clinkscale, 27, who a grand jury did indict on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection to the February shooting death of Ra’mon Cooper, 29.
In his motion, Meranto told Judge Anthony Donofrio that Clinkscale has been in jail since he was arrested Feb. 6 for Cooper’s death and his right to a speedy trial had been unfairly denied.
Prosecutors have yet to file a response.
Police said Cooper and Clinkscale argued inside Club Savo on Mahoning Avenue and security kicked them out.
They continued to argue in the parking lot and Cooper got a gun out of his car and shot at Clinkscale. Clinkscale got a gun out of a car and returned fire, killing Cooper, investigators said.
Clinkscale is not allowed to have a gun or be around a gun because of a prior felony conviction.
Detectives arrested Clinkscale on a charge of murder for Cooper’s death, but the grand jury chose not to indict Cooper for murder.
Grand jury proceedings are secret so there is no way to determine their reasoning, but prosecutors said previously that perhaps they chose not to indict for murder because they thought Clinkscale was acting in self-defense.
When Clinkscale was arraigned in municipal court on the original murder charge, his bond was set at $500,000. After the case was bound over and the grand jury chose not to indict for murder, Meranto asked for a bond reduction.
Judge Donofrio reduced the bond to $100,000, but Clinkscale has not been able to post it.
In his motion, Meranto laid the blame for the delay on the state, saying that his client has never sought a delay in the proceedings.
Under state law, a defendant must be tried within 90 days of their arrest unless they waive their right to a speedy trial. Clinkscale has not signed such a waiver.