Case involving defendants in Rowan Sweeney murder likely to be pushed back

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The judge in charge of the cases in the Rowan Sweeney case said Thursday he wants at least one of the two main defendants to go on trial in January.

Judge Anthony D’Apolito made his remarks Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court during a pretrial hearing for one of the defendants, Brandon Crump, 18, of Youngstown.

One of the other co-defendants in the case, Kimonie Bryant, 24, has a trial date set in September that will almost certainly be pushed back because of a hearing Aug. 23, according to Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin. Although it has officially not been moved yet.

Crump is set to go on trial in January. Judge D’Apolito agreed with a suggestion by the attorneys on both sides that a conference be held with all attorneys in both cases to go over discovery, and from there, try to pick which case can proceed first.

Bryant faces 15 counts, including an aggravated murder count with a death penalty specification for a Sept. 21 shooting that killed Rowan Sweeney, 4, in Struthers and wounded three others. The shooting happened at the Perry Street home of Sweeney’s mother during what police said was a robbery.

He was originally indicted in October.

Crump was arrested in November when he was 17 and charged with aggravated robbery in the case. His case was bound over to common pleas court, and he was indicted March 25 for Sweeney’s death in a superseding indictment that also charged Bryant with conspiracy.

Crump cannot face the death penalty because he was 17 when the crime was committed.

Also indicted on death penalty specifications in March was Andre McCoy, 21. However, he was shot in the head during the attack and his status is unclear as he recovers from his wound.

Two other people, Bryant’s mother and Crump’s girlfriend, were indicted on tampering with evidence charges.

McLaughlin said the discovery in the case is “beyond voluminous” because of the scope of the investigation and the number of defendants involved.

One of Crump’s lawyers, Lou DeFabio, said he would welcome a discovery conference. DeFabio added, however, that he is not sure he would be able to be ready for the case in January. He noted his client was not indicted until March, which means he has a lot more catching up to do than Bryant’s defense team.

DeFabio also said the amount of discovery is daunting.

Judge D’Apolito said he wants to discovery conference to be held before the Sept. 16 trial date for Bryant, which most likely be converted to a pretrial hearing. He said, with discovery out of the way, the attorneys can concentrate on other matters in the case, although he conceded in a complicated case like the Sweeney case has become, there may be some motions filed over the discovery process.

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