Federal prosecutors oppose bond motion for Youngstown standoff suspect

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Brandon Turjonis, 32, was arraigned in municipal court on a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and first degree misdemeanor counts of inducing panic and aggravated menacing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Federal prosecutors Thursday opposed a request for bond for a man arrested on weapons charges following a standoff last June on the South Side, saying he is a flight risk because of a past history of drug addiction and substance abuse.

U.S. Judge Dan Aaron Polster has agreed to reopen a detention hearing Thursday in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio for Brandon Turjonis, 33, who was charged federally with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of an unregistered firearm after he was arrested June 19, 2020, following a standoff at his Aberdeen Avenue home.

Defense attorney Timothy J. Kucharski filed a motion earlier this week asking that his client be granted a bond and a “temporary release,” citing a change of circumstances for his client that would now permit him to post bond.

Turjonis was already in the Trumbull County Jail on a probation violation related to the standoff on Aberdeen Avenue when a federal grand jury indicted him Feb. 18. At that time, he waived his detention hearing.

Police were called to the street for a report of a man walking around with a gun and when they arrived, they saw Turjonis outside with a gun. He then went inside the home and did not come out for about three hours until he was talked out by a negotiator with the Mahoning Valley Crisis Response Team.

Inside the home, police found an AK-47 type semiautomatic rifle that was not registered to him. Turjonis is not allowed to have or be around a gun because of a 2015 conviction in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for attempted endangering children and illegal cultivation of marijuana.

His case was bound over to a Mahoning County grand jury in August and he was indicted. He was found competent to stand trial Jan. 29 before his case was transferred to federal court in February.

Kucharski said at the time of his detention hearing his client still had time to serve on his probation violation, which is why he waived the detention hearing. Kucharski noted his client has been in jail for over a year on the probation violation and yet has never had a hearing on the violation.

Turjonis has no history of mental health or substance abuse issues, Kucharski wrote, and he has no objection to any type of electronic monitoring. Turjonis is also at risk to get COVID-19 as long as he remains jailed, Kucharski wrote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Yasmine Makridis, however, said Turjonis does have a history of substance abuse and a criminal history dating back to when he was 18 that includes several instances in which he either failed to appear in court or violated his probation.

Turjonis is accused of pointing a gun at a neighbor and other witnesses told authorities he often shot the gun in his backyard to intimidate his neighbors, Makridis wrote.

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