Suspects in 2 Youngstown murders plead not guilty

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Bond was continued for Jillian Russell and Erik Jenkins in the two separate murder cases

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Bond was continued Tuesday for suspects in two separate murders during their arraignments in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Jillian Russell, 37, and Erik Jenkins, 25, also entered not guilty pleas before Magistrate Dominic DeLaurentis.

Russell is charged with aggravated murder in the April 12, 2020 shooting death of 36-year-old Marcus Turnage inside a home in the 500 block of Lakeview Ave. in Youngstown.

Witnesses told police it happened after an argument between Turnage and Russell over the existence of God.

Russell was found incompetent to stand trial following a mental health evaluation after her arraignment in municipal court. Her competency was restored and her case was bound over to a grand jury last month after a preliminary hearing.

Her trial is set for June 21 before Judge Anthony D’Apolito.

Jenkins is charged with aggravated murder and attempted murder in a March 4 shooting death outside of a bar at East Lucius and South avenues that killed 34-year-old Thomas Williams and hurt a security guard at the bar.

Jenkins was also hurt after the guard returned fire.

Police do not know if Williams was killed by a bullet fired by Thomas or the guard. They are waiting for ballistic test results.

Jenkins was charged after he was spotted firing at the bar on security video. He turned himself in a few days after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

His trial is set for May 24 before Judge Anthony Donofrio.

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