YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Seventh District Court of Appeals last week denied the appeal of a man convicted of a 2016 murder on the East Side.
The court ruled against Kimani Hodges, 22, who was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole in August of 2018 for the Feb. 16, 2016, shooting death of Jason Fonseca, 20.
Fonseca was shot nine times in the driveway of his Ayers Street home. Prosecutors said Hodges and Fonseca were arguing over a woman and a car at the time he was shot.
Hodges had asked that his conviction be overturned because the trial judge never told the court to instruct the jury that they could find Hodges guilty of a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, which has a far lighter sentence than aggravated murder.
The judge, Visiting Judge H.F. Inderlied, Jr., ruled that he would not include that instruction because he did not believe that the evidence showed that Hodges acted in a fit of passion or that he was seriously provoked.
The appeals court wrote in its ruling that testimony showed that at one point, Fonseca and Hodges argued in the driveway and Hodges and the woman they were arguing over refused to leave so Fonseca squared up like he wanted to fight Hodges.
That is when Hodges pulled a gun and shot Fonseca nine times
The appeals court ruled that Judge Inderlied was right to not offer the instruction on the lesser charge because there was no way a “reasonable person” could infer that squaring up to fight or arguing was enough to provoke someone to fire a weapon.