YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Jury selection is underway in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for the trial of a Washington, D.C., man accused of a shooting death at a South Side gas station.
Visiting Judge Thomas Pokorny is hearing the case against Samuel Byrd, 69, who is charged with aggravated murder in the shooting death of Keimone Black, 29, of Youngstown.
Black was shot and killed at about 3 a.m. at a gas station at South and Samuel avenues. Police said he was in an SUV at a gas pump when someone walked up and fired several shots. Black fell out of the SUV and died.
A passenger was not injured.
Police have not released a motive for the slaying, nor have they commented on why a man from out of town in his late 60s is a suspect.
Two days after the shooting, detectives served a search warrant at a home in the 800 block of East Avondale Avenue where evidence in the case was found.
Byrd was arrested at the Boardman Inn in Boardman a couple of days after Black was killed. Detectives said there was evidence Byrd was on his way back to D.C. before he was taken into custody.
Byrd also served several years in prison for the 1981 murder of a gas station attendant in D.C., and he had also once escaped custody in that case before he was caught. He was released from prison in 2017, according to court records.
Byrd has turned down an offer by prosecutors to plead guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and being a felon in possession of a firearm with firearm and repeat violent offender specifications. Prosecutors said if Byrd had taken the plea, they would recommend a sentence of 20 years.
If convicted of aggravated murder, Byrd could be sentenced to life in prison with no parole.
When asked by Judge Pokorny before jurors were brought in the courtroom if he wanted to reconsider the state’s plea offer, Byrd said no.
“I’m 69 years old going on 70,” Byrd said. “Any time I do in prison is a death sentence. There’s no offer the state can offer me other than immediate release.”