YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge denied a motion Monday to reduce bond for a man accused of a downtown shooting death.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum said while making his decision that one of the deciding factors is that the defendant, 23-year-old Johnny Serrano of Campbell, had a gun with him despite the fact he is not allowed to have a gun and that he took that gun into a bar.
Serrano was indicted earlier this month on charges of aggravated murder, murder, involuntary manslaughter, being a felon in possession of a firearm and having a weapon in a liquor permit premises for the Sept. 18 shooting death of Yarnell Green, 32.
Green was shot and killed at West Federal and Hazel streets. Police say he was shot by Serrano after the two argued in a nearby bar and were kicked out. Police found a gun next to Green.
Serrano’s previous attorney, James Gentile, said at his municipal court arraignment that Serrano gave police a gun when he turned himself in the day after Green was killed.
Serrano has been held on $750,000 bond since his Sept. 21 arraignment in municipal court. His new attorney, David Betras, asked Judge Krichbaum to reduce his client’s bond, saying his client is not a flight risk because he has strong family support and is a lifelong resident of Mahoning County.
“He has too many roots here,” Betras said. “I believe this is a unique set of facts.”
Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta said the state opposed any reduction in Serrano’s bond. Brevetta said Serrano faces a possible life in prison sentence if convicted, which makes him a flight risk. Brevetta also said Serrano is a danger to the community.
Brevetta said just before the shooting, Serrano was ordered to leave by the back door of the bar they were arguing in and Green was ordered to leave from the front. A witness, who was with Green, said when they rounded a corner, they ran into Serrano, who shot Green unprovoked, Brevetta said.
“I believe his behavior has demonstrated he is a threat to the community,” Brevetta said.
Betras disputed that saying that when Green rounded the corner and spotted Serrano, he raised his shirt to reveal a gun underneath. That is when Serrano shot Green, Betras said.
Police have refused to say if they believe the gun found next to Green’s body was his.
Brevetta also said Serrano had a gun despite a juvenile conviction for robbery when he was 16 from Lake County that prohibits him from having a gun and he took that gun into a bar, which can result in a prison sentence if he is convicted.
Betras said his client was trying to get his concealed carry permit and was unaware his juvenile conviction prohibited him from having a weapon.
Judge Krichbaum said he was not enthused by the fact that Serrano had a gun and took that gun into a bar.
“Dude, I think anyone that carries a gun into a bar is a danger to the community,” Judge Krichbaum said. “That’s why the law says if you do that and you’re convicted, you go to the penitentiary.”
Serrano will have a pretrial hearing before the holidays and a trial is expected shortly after the start of the new year