WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins is fighting the release of a man who was convicted of the murder of a Niles police officer.
Randy Fellows, 57, was convicted as a co-conspirator in the Dec. 1982 shooting death of Niles Officer John Utlak. Utlak was 26 when he was killed.
While Fellows was not the trigger man, Watkins said it was Fellows who orchestrated the murder by calling Utlak to the place where he was killed and giving his 17-year-old co-conspirator Fred Joseph the gun that killed Utlak.
Fellows was 18 years old at the time of the killing.
While the two were running from police on I-80, they picked up a hitchhiker in Illinois who testified that Fellows showed him his gun and that Joseph told him that he “wasted a cop” with that gun. Other witnesses said that Fellows had threatened to kill a Niles officer because “he hated them,” Watkins wrote.
Watkins said that Fellows’ gun killed Utlak and that his ammunition and his mother’s car that was used in the “fatal ambush.”
“Fred Joseph was Randy Fellows’ puppet! Two of a kind!” Watkins said.
Watkins also asked the parole to consider Fellows’ 39-year prison record which he said shows Fellows has impulsive tendencies and that he is still betting written up for infractions and found guilty.
Joseph was recently denied parole for the next five years, the maximum allowed because he was 17 years old at the time of the killing.
Fellows’ parole hearing is in Aug. 2022. If it’s denied, he may not go before the parole board again for 10 years, which is the maximum he was given in 2012 when he was last denied parole.