Defense lawyer said East Side Youngstown killing was due to disputed gun payment

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The attorney for a man who pleaded guilty Monday to charges that he shot and killed a man last July then burned his body in a car said at his client’s sentence hearing Thursday the shooting happened over a gun transaction.

Mark Lavelle, counsel for Julius Kimbrough, 43, of Humboldt Avenue, said in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court the victim in the case, Raylin Blunt, 42, had bought a gun from Kimbrough but did not pay him the $50 he owed.

When Kimbrough, who was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison, went to get the money July 1 from Blunt at a home on Oak Lane on the east side, something about the way Blunt took the gun out got to Kimbrough and he shot and killed the man he called a good friend.

From there, Kimbrough and co-defendant Dawond Roddy, 35, put Blunt’s body in an SUV, drove it to a field on McGuffey Road and set the SUV on fire. It took coroner’s investigators two weeks to identify the remains.

“He did not like it when he [Blunt] took [the gun] out,” Lavelle said. “All this for 50 dollars over a g—–n gun. That’s the nonsense that goes on in our society because everybody carries a gun.”

Kimbrough pleaded guilty Monday, the day his trial was to begin before Judge Anthony Donofrio, to charges of murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, arson and tampering with evidence. The 18-year to life sentence was recommended by the attorneys in the case.

Roddy pleaded guilty to charges of arson and tampering with evidence and will be sentenced July 29 following a presentence investigation. Prosecutors in his case are seeking a four and a half year prison term while his attorney has already said he will argue for probation.

Neither prosecutors or police have ever disclosed a motive for Blunt’s slaying.

Blunt’s sister, Yalanda Smith, said her brother’s death was devastating and her family is struggling to cope with his loss.

To make matters worse, her brother’s body was so badly burned the family could not give her brother a proper burial and they had to wait two weeks to make funeral arrangements because it took that long for the remains to be identified.

“You robbed us of saying goodbye in a civilized way,” she said. “I think that was just as hard as the murder.”

Now, whenever her sons go anywhere, she always makes sure she knows who they are with. She said the fact Kimbrough was good friends with her brother is another thing that is distressing.

Lavelle said his client did not go to meet Blunt with “bad intentions,” but merely to get the money for the gun he sold Blunt. Lavelle said Kimbrough and Blunt were good friends and they shot a Facebook Live video just two days before Blunt was killed.

“He is not a monster,” Lavelle said.

Kimbrough spoke briefly, apologizing and asking for forgiveness.

“It just got out of control,” he said.

Kimbrough will get credit for 350 days he has served in jail awaiting the disposition of his case.

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