YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A pair of men charged in a July murder where the victim was found burned in his SUV entered guilty pleas Monday in Mahoning County Pleas Court the day jury selection in their trial was set to begin.
Julius Kimbrough, 43, of Humboldt Avenue, pleaded guilty to charges of murder with a firearm specification, being a felon in possession of a firearm, tampering with evidence and arson; and Dawond Roddy, 35, of West Lucius Avenue, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and arson.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are recommending a sentence of 18 years to life in prison for Kimbrough. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of four and a half years for Roddy. His attorney, Tony Meranto, is asking for a presentence investigation and told the judge he will argue for probation at sentencing. Roddy has only a minor misdemeanor drug conviction on his record and is a college graduate and a veteran.
Judge Anthony Donofrio accepted their pleas.
The pair are accused of the July 1 death of Raylin Blunt, 42, who police said was shot at a home on Oak Lane and driven to a field on McGuffey Road, where the SUV was set on fire.
Firefighters found Blunt’s body when they were called to put out the fire.
An affidavit in the case said Kimbrough shot Blunt at the Oak Lane home after he asked if Blunt had a gun.
Roddy helped Kimbrough roll the body in a blanket, put it in the SUV and drive to McGuffey Road.
The affidavit did not provide a motive for the slaying.
A charge of aggravated murder against Kimbrough was dismissed in exchange for his plea. He is expected to be sentenced Thursday.
Prosecutors dismissed charges of aggravated murder and murder against Roddy in exchange for his pleas. He is expected to be sentenced July 29.
Meranto asked for a recognizance bond for Roddy, saying he was an honorably discharged veteran and the charges are eligible for probation, plus he has spent almost a year in jail already.
“Anything else would be punitive,” Meranto said.
Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalemessa objected, saying Roddy had to be tracked down by U.S. Marshals and he admitted participating in a gruesome crime and cover-up.
“This is one of the most egregious tampering with evidence charges we’ve ever had,” she said.
That prompted Meranto to say two of the state’s star witnesses also admitted to taking part in disposing of the body and weren’t charged, which Cantalamessa said was not true.
Judge Donofrio granted Roddy a $25,000 bond with GPS monitoring.