Testimony begins in Youngstown murder case where victim was shot on south side

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Traeshaun Turner, murder indictment

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The attorney for a man accused of a September shooting death on Youngstown’s south side said in opening statements Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that the victim also had a gun, but a witness who was there at the time said he did not.

Mark Lavelle, who represents 26-year-old Traeshaun Turner, said the man he is accused of killing, Ishmael Bethel, 25, had a gun before a confrontation in a parking lot at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Cleveland Street resulted in Bethel dying from a gunshot wound to the back.

Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday after jurors were selected Monday before Judge John Durkin. Turner was indicted by a grand jury on charges of murder and attempted murder.

Earlier testimony in a preliminary hearing in Youngstown Municipal Court said that Turner was arguing with a teenage girl over $40 she owed him in a parking lot across the street from a south side bar when Turner shot Bethel and also wounded the girl in the arm.

Lavelle said of about 100 people who were present, only two talked to the police, including the teen who was wounded.

Lavelle said there will be another witness who will testify to a different version of events, and he urged the jury to believe her testimony.

The teen witness told Lavelle under cross examination that Bethel did not have a gun with him. And under direct examination by Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta, the witness said there was no way she could have removed a gun because of the wound to her arm, which was dangling at a strange angle and broken in several places.

One of the first witnesses was city police officer Luis Villaplana, who responded to the shooting. He said the crowd was so chaotic people were bumping into him as he tried to cut Bethel’s clothes away so he could perform CPR on him.

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