Prosecutors say defendant in gruesome Mahoning Co. murder case didn’t follow plea agreement

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Prosecutors agreed to sentence Katrina Layton to probation, but they say she has not followed her end of the bargain

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Prosecutors want to vacate the plea of a woman who was charged for her role in the death and dismemberment of a woman in 2017 who was later found stuffed in a freezer in Campbell.

In a filing filed Friday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Day wrote that Judge Anthony Donofrio should set aside Katrina Layton’s opposition by the state to vacate her guilty plea because she did not abide by the terms of her plea agreement.

Day wrote that Layton deliberately lied and misled investigators about how Shannon Graves, 29, wound up dead and stuffed in a freezer.

Layton’s boyfriend, Arturo Novoa, 33, pleaded guilty to murder and other charges for the death of Graves. Judge Donofrio sentenced Novoa in July to 48 years to life in prison for her death, calling his actions “barbaric.”

Prosecutors said Novoa killed Graves with a blow to the head in her Mahoning Avenue apartment in February of 2017. Layton allowed Graves to be dismembered in the garage of her Shields Road home.

Graves’ body was later found in July of 2017.

Layton had pleaded guilty to charges of tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors agreed to sentence her to probation as long as she cooperated and told the truth.

Prosecutors asked Judge Donofrio before the Novoa sentencing to vacate the plea agreement, saying that Layton had failed to live up to her end of the bargain because she did not tell them the truth. Layton is opposing the motion.

A hearing was slated to be held on October 31 but was continued at the request of Layton. It has been reset for early January.

Day wrote in his motion that Layton was trying to protect Novoa in several statements she gave to prosecutors, which he said prompted Layton’s attorney to ask why she was protecting him. Layton even wore a ring to one of the sessions that was given to her by Novoa, Day wrote.

“Full cooperation does not mean lying, deceiving, withholding evidence, or protecting her co-defendant,” Day wrote.

Day also said that if the plea is vacated it does not constitute double jeopardy for Layton, an argument she made in her motion to continue the Oct. 31 hearing.

Day wrote that federal courts have consistently ruled that a defendant can be re-indicted if a plea agreement is vacated. State law also backs that up, Day wrote.

Two other people are also charged in the case but their cases have yet to be heard.

Editor’s note: Shannon’s body was found in July, not June, as previously reported. We regret the error.

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