Prosecutors: Campbell Burger King employees recognized robber’s voice as former manager

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Defendant Israel Graham's attorney said employees were mistaken, and nothing else tied Graham to the robbery

Israel Graham, charged with aggravated robbery and kidnapping in Campbell.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Prosecutors said Wednesday during opening statements in the trial of a man accused of robbing a Campbell fast food restaurant that employees were able to identify Israel Graham through his voice because he was once a manager there.

However, Graham’s attorney Ed Hartwig told jurors before Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that the robbery happened so fast and was so traumatic that it would be hard for them to identify anyone’s voice.

Graham, 23, is charged with aggravated robbery and three counts of kidnapping for an Oct. 28, 2018, robbery of the Burger King restaurant on McCartney Road.

Assistant Prosecutor Aaron Meikle told jurors that the restaurant was robbed just after closing time by two men, one of whom jumped over the counter and a second who went into the office.

During the robbery, employees were forced into the office against their will, where a safe was opened. Money was also taken from a cash register before the two ran away.

Campbell police issued a warrant for Graham the next day.

Meikle said that the person who went to the office appeared to know where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do like he was familiar with the layout of the building. At one time, Graham was a manager of the restaurant, Meikle said, which was why employees recognized his voice.

“One of them [robbers] knew where he was going and what he was looking for,” Meikle said.

So far, the other person involved in the robbery has not been charged.

Hartwig told jurors that the entire robbery only took three to four minutes and that it happened so fast and was so stressful that employees who thought they heard Graham’s voice were mistaken.

Police also never found a gun, or clothes or anything else that could have been tied to the robbery, Hartwig said.

On the video, the robbers are totally disguised and there is no way to identify them, Hartwig said.

“There’s no identifiable items or statements it was Israel,” Hartwig said.

Jury selection took place all of Tuesday before a jury was selected to hear the case.

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