YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Attorneys for a man who could face the death penalty for the September 2020 shooting death of a four-year-old Struthers boy have asked a judge to dismiss the death penalty specifications in the case.
Kimonie Bryant, acting through lawyers John Juhasz and Lynn Maro, filed the motion Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, asking Judge Anthony D’Apolito to dismiss the specification.
In a 63-page motion, the attorneys argue that the specification should be dismissed because the way Ohio administers the death penalty is unconstitutional.
Prosecutors have yet to respond. Judge D’Apolito said at a pretrial hearing Tuesday for Bryant that he just received the motion and will give prosecutors a chance to respond with a brief of their own before deciding if oral arguments should be held.
Bryant was indicted in October 2020 for the Sept. 21, 2020, shooting death of Rowan Sweeney, 4, at his mother’s Perry Street home in Struthers. Three other people were wounded in the same shooting.
Police have said Sweeney was killed during a robbery for the cash from a stimulus check the boyfriend of his mother received.
A superseding indictment in March of 2021 also charged Brandon Crump, 18, and a third person, Andre McCoy, 21, with Sweeney’s death. However, an additional count of conspiracy was added for Bryant. His attorneys, Lynn Maro and John Juhasz, asked Judge D’Apolito to dismiss that count against their client, saying in a previous motion that the count was added after the original grand jury indictment in October 2020 and was past the speedy trial deadline in the case.
If convicted, Bryant could face the death penalty. Crump also was indicted on death penalty specifications, but he is ineligible for the death penalty because he was a juvenile when Sweeney was killed.
McCoy, who was shot in the head in the same shooting and was near death at one point, has eluded authorities ever since his treatment was ended.
Two other people have also been indicted for their roles in the shooting.
It is not known when Crump or Bryant will go to trial. Prosecutors are awaiting the results of DNA tests in May that could determine how they want to proceed.