YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Jurors are deliberating after attorneys today gave closing arguments in the Michael Sherman murder trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Sherman, 20, is charged with aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the March 3, 2018, shooting death of Brandon Wareham, 18, in a driveway on Rhoda Avenue.
Sherman is one of three people charged with the death of Wareham, who prosecutors said was ambushed during a robbery for marijuana.
Mark Winlock, 20, is the person police say fired the shot that killed Wareham.
A third defendant, Daniel Sullivan, 20, pleaded guilty in the fall and is expected to be sentenced to 14 years in exchange for his testimony.
Sherman turned down a similar deal.
A jury was picked Monday before Judge Anthony D’Apolito and testimony began Tuesday. Judge Anthony D’Apolito is hearing the case.
Prosecutors said that Sherman was in on the planning and execution of the robbery that killed Wareham.
Defense attorneys said Sherman did not know Wareham was going to be shot and killed.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Tom Zena said that the plot to rob Wareham was actually hatched the night at the Rhoda Avenue home before by a group of teens including Winlock and Sullivan but Sherman was not present.
Sherman did not show up at the home until the next day, and he was still not involved in any of the planning, Zena said.
“He had no knowledge of any robbery,” Zena said.
Zena added that there were inconsistencies in the stories that Sullivan and another of the teens who is serving time as a juvenile told jurors about where Sherman was when the three defendants ran up on the car Wareham was in.
In his rebuttal, Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta said Sullivan and the other witness testified that Sherman was present when the robbery of Wareham was planned and that Winlock had a gun while that was going on.
Brevetta said that Zena’s argument that they were going to steal marijuana from Wareham instead of take it forcefully does not hold up because it took three people, two of them armed, to pull of the robbery.
“This was a very poorly planned robbery but it was a robbery,” Brevetta said.