YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Prosecutors have asked a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge to reverse her decision to hold separate trials for two men accused of a triple murder in which one of the victims was an infant.
The issue could come up Wednesday in pretrial hearings in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for both suspects, Shaiquon Sharpe, 25 and Taquashon Ray, 25.
They were indicted almost a year after the Nov. 7, 2018 shooting deaths of Edward Morris, 21; Valarica Blair, 19; and their 3-month-old son, Tariq Morris, in a car at Pasadena and Gibson avenues, on several charges, including three counts of aggravated murder.
Ray’s attorney, Lou DeFabio, had asked in March that both men have separate trials because Sharpe could make statements that incriminate his client but then opt not to testify, which means DeFabio could not cross-examine him.
DeFabio was especially concerned in his original motion of the testimony of inmates in the county jail with Sharpe and Ray against his defendant.
Judge Sweeney agreed and ruled May 24 that both trials will be held separately, although for now, both men have trial dates scheduled for Nov. 8.
Last week, Assistant Prosecutor Aaron Meikle filed a motion asking Judge Sweeney to reconsider her ruling. In his motion, Meilke said Judge Sweeney could order the testimony of jailhouse informants could be limited so they include no incriminating statements against Ray or a deposition can be taken that can exclude similar testimony.
In his response, DeFabio said prosecutors have offered no case law to support their request to have the motion reversed.
“The state is asking for a ‘do-over,’ and Ohio law does not allow for such a thing,” DeFabio wrote.
Police used evidence from several phones and social media postings to charge the two.
Police said it appeared Edward Morris was the target of an ambush and Blair and the baby just happened to be with Morris when the ambush was sprung.
Investigators will not comment on a motive.