Defense attorneys argue pretrial publicity may cloud Youngstown murder trial

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Attorneys for Brian Donlow and Stephon Hopkins also asked a judge to suppress video in the case

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

Brian Donlow and Stephon Hopkins

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Jury selection was held Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for two men accused of a 2018 murder at an apartment complex on Youngstown’s east side.

Brian Donlow, 24 and Stephon Hopkins, 22, are each charged in the June 19, 2018, shooting death of Brandon Wylie, 30, at the Plaza View apartment complex.

The shooting was captured on video, which defense attorneys Tuesday morning asked to be suppressed.

Tuesday morning, Judge Anthony D’Apolito said he had not yet read the motion since it was filed, but he promised he would allow attorneys to argue the motion and make a ruling before opening statements.

Hopkins, Donlow and a third man are also charged with the November 2018 murder of a Warren man who was found in a running car on the East Side.

Defense attorneys also said they were concerned about a newspaper article about the case Monday because the publicity could adversely affect jurors and how they view the defendants.

Defense attorney Mark Carfolo said the front page article showed jail mugshots of both men, which could cloud jurors’ views of the defendants.

Defense attorney John Laczko said there has been five total articles about the case and all of them show the defendants in their mugshots.

Judge D’Apolito said he will make sure to address any pretrial publicity issues with jurors during selection and they could be questioned individually about publicity if the need arises.

Opening statements are expected to start Wednesday.

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