YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Prosecutors Thursday said they oppose a motion by attorneys to dismiss a conspiracy charge in the case of a man who could face the death penalty for the death of a 4-year-old Struthers boy.
In a motion filed Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, prosecutors said the conspiracy count was added in a superseding indictment against Kimonie Bryant, 24, after investigators were able to interview witnesses and review other evidence that was not available when he was originally indicted.
Bryant faces 15 counts, including an aggravated murder count with a death penalty specification for the Sept. 21 shooting that killed Rowan Sweeney, 4, and wounded three others. The shooting happened at the Perry Street home of Sweeney’s mother during what police said was a robbery.
Bryant was taken into custody later that day and indicted Oct. 1 on 14 counts for the shooting and robbery.
A superseding indictment issued March 25 added the conspiracy charge.
Also included in the superseding indictment March 25 was Andre McCoy, 21, who was also indicted on death penalty specifications; and Brandon Crump, 18, who faces aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, attempted murder and other charges for the shootings.
Two other people, Bryant’s mother and Crump’s girlfriend, were indicted on tampering with evidence charges.
Defense attorneys Lynn Maro and John Juhasz said the conspiracy charge should be dismissed because it came after the speedy trial deadline for Bryant.
Judge Anthony D’Apolito is hearing all the cases. Bryant is set for trial in September and Crump is set for trial in January. McCoy was shot in the head during the attack and is not in custody. His whereabouts are unknown.
Under Ohio law, a defendant being held in jail in lieu of bond on pending charges gets three days credit for every one day spent in custody. Prosecutors have 270 days under those calculations to try someone unless they waive their right to a speedy trial.
Defense attorneys relied on a portion of the Ohio Supreme Court’s State V. Adams opinion when the high court ruled that when “new and additional charges arise from the same facts as did the original charges,” which prosecutors knew about at the time of the initial indictment, the additional charges are subject to the speedy trial time for the original charge.
Prosecutors said in their brief that they did not have access to other witnesses and had no idea Crump was involved in the crime until the original indictment was filed.
“It was only after these additional pieces of evidence were obtained that the state sought the charge the defendant with conspiracy,” prosecutors wrote. “As such, count 15 of the superseding indictment does not relate back to the defendant’s arrest date of Sept. 21, as the state lacked knowledge of the facts that serve as the basis for the conspiracy charge.”
Bryant is due back in court July 13 for a pretrial hearing.