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Defendants question photo lineups in Youngstown murder case

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Defense attorneys believe that the witness' identification needs thrown out

Brian Donlow and Stephon Hopkins are charged with the murder of Brandon Wylie in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A pair of defendants in a Youngstown shooting case are each challenging photo lineups that police showed to witnesses.

Brian Donlow, 24 and Stephon Hopkins, 22, are set for a suppression hearing Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court before Judge Anthony D’Apolito.

The pair face several charges, including aggravated murder, for the June 19, 2018, shooting death of Brandon Wylie, 30. That shooting happened just after midnight at the Plaza View Apartments on the East Side.

Police were stymied in their investigation until May, when both men were indicted for the death of Wylie.

Hopkins and Donlow, along with a third man, are also charged with the Nov. 18, 2018 shooting death of Christopher Jackson, Jr. 21, of Warren. Jackson was found shot to death in a car on the East Side.

Police said they were able to find evidence when investigating the death of Jackson that allowed them to indict Hopkins and Donlow for the death of Wylie, but they will not say what that evidence is.

In his motion for Hopkins, defense attorney Mark Carfolo writes that police showed a photo array to a witness who said they were with Wylie just before he was shot. That witness said they did not see the actual shooting, however, and the suspect ran away.

Carfolo said the witness’ identification should be thrown out because the witness did not provide any physical description of his client to police and only supplied “vague and ambiguous” clothing descriptions.

In his motion for Donlow, defense attorney John P. Laczko wrote that the day after Wylie was killed, police showed a photo array at the home of a witness who lives nearby. The motion states that the lineup was not shown to the witness at the police department nor was the witness interviewed at the police department, which taints the identification process.

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