YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Not yet 20 years old himself, Antonio Davis Monday first rejected a plea agreement but later entered an Alford Plea for the 2018 shooting death of a 15-year-old Farrell, Pa., teen.
Davis, 19, entered the plea in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court before Judge Anthony Donofrio to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of aggravated robbery with a firearm specification. Sentencing will be after a presentence investigation.
An Alford Plea means a defendant maintains his innocence but admits that there is enough evidence that a jury may be able to convict him.
Davis entered the plea for the March 22, 2018 shooting death of 15-year-old Damon Marinoff, of Farrell, Pa. Davis was still a juvenile when he was indicted for Marinoff’s death in May of 2019. A charge of aggravated murder was amended to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for his plea.
Attorneys in the case are recommending a sentence of no more than 11 years.
Assistant Prosecutor Martin Hume said Marinoff was lured to a vacant home on Sherwood Avenue by Davis and another person who pretended to be someone else to buy two iPhones Marinoff was trying to sell on the LetGo app.
Marinoff got the brother of his girlfriend to drive him to the home and when they got there, Davis pointed a gun at the driver and robbed him of his wallet. Another person, as yet unidentified, robbed Marinoff of the phones and when Marinoff tried to get out of the car, he was shot, Hume said.
Davis was to go on trial Monday but court staff was alerted Saturday that Davis agreed to the plea. However, when he came to court Monday, he balked and said he wanted to go to trial instead, claiming he had nothing to do with Marinoff’s death.
“I’m not going to cop to something I didn’t do,” he told Judge Donofrio, who wanted to make sure Davis knew what he was doing. The judge explained if he was convicted of the original indictment, he was looking at a potential life prison sentence with no parole eligibility until he was 74.
The judge urged him to reconsider, saying he could still have some semblance of a normal life if he served the entire 11 years of his plea because he would be released from prison by the time he’s 30.
Defense attorney Tony Meranto suggested that he be allowed to talk to Davis and his father in private and Judge Donofrio agreed. About 45 minutes later, Davis announced he would accept an Alford Plea.
During the plea hearing, Davis said he decided to accept a plea because he was afraid of the sentence he would receive if he was convicted.
“I just don’t want to get life,” he said.
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