Judge must decide if woman charged in Mahoning Co. murder case should go back to jail

Local News

Prosecutors say Katrina Layton and her boyfriend and co-defendant Arturo Novoa have been communicating -- and they're not supposed to

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Should a woman charged in connection with a gruesome murder case from two years ago be put back in jail for talking with another of her co-defendants? That’s one of the decisions facing a Mahoning County judge.

Even though Katrina Layton was ordered not to talk to boyfriend and co-defendant Arturo Novoa, prosecutors claim the pair continue communicating with each other — and that violates her bond.

“They also discuss the case, they discuss her proffers, they discuss what she said in her proffers, they discuss her plea,” Atty. Dan Kasaris said.

Both Layton and Novoa pleaded guilty to being involved in the death and dismemberment of Shannon Graves in 2017.

On Thursday morning, prosecutors submitted prison phone records indicating the pair have contacted each other dozens of times since Novoa was sentenced in June, often using Layton’s son as a go-between in the conversations.

“Including a marriage proposal and a marriage acceptance,” Kasaris said.

Layton’s attorneys argue while the conversations were improper, she shouldn’t be sent back to jail.

“There have been no efforts to harass and intimidate, cause any disruption or harm,” Atty. Lynn Maro said.

But prosecutors claim Layton knew what she was doing was illegal, even admitting as much in one of the couple’s phone calls.

“The defendant — ‘I mean, as far as right now, I know I’m OK but if they get ahold of these recordings, I’m f****d,'” Kasaris said.

Prosecutors say they’ll ask Judge Anthony Donofrio to throw out Layton’s plea so they can charge her in Graves’ murder.

On Thursday in court, they asked Layton’s original million-dollar bond be reinstated, having her locked up. The judge said he’ll make a decision soon.

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