Who fired fatal shot and discovery issues continue to complicate Struthers child murder case

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Brandon Crump, suspect in Rowan Sweeney death

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — What does 2,400 pages, 30 DVDs and one terabyte of data equal? A headache.

That is the discovery material defense attorneys have to sift through in the Brandon Crump case. They said Thursday that they still are not sure if they have all the necessary evidence to defend their client.

Crump, 18, is one of three people accused in the September 2020 slaying of 4-year-old Rowan Sweeney at the Struthers home of Sweeney’s mother.

Last month at a pretrial hearing in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court., Judge Anthony D’Apolito ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to sit down and figure out what materials had been forwarded to defense attorneys and what materials were still needed.

At another pretrial hearing Thursday before Judge D’Apolito, prosecutors provided defense attorneys Lou DeFabio and Ed Hartwig over 2,400 pages of documents, the DVDs and the terabyte, which had interviews, phone records and other materials.

The problem, DeFabio said, is what prosecutors provided seems to be in chronological order and he does not know if that will match up with earlier discovery provided to the defense. To sift through both previous discovery and the discovery provided Thursday will be time consuming, DeFabio said.

Judge D’Apolito again ordered attorneys in the case to get together personally and review all the materials to make sure there is nothing left to provide to the defense before the next pretrial Nov. 8.

DeFabio said he was not sure if all the material could be reviewed in such a short period of time, but Judge D’Apolito clarified his order, saying that he doesn’t expect every piece of evidence to be reviewed. Instead, he said the attorneys should compare different categories of evidence and see if everything that falls within those categories has been delivered.

Crump is set for trial in January, and Judge D’Apolito said he realizes that the attorneys probably will not be ready for trial by then because the case is so complex. However, the judge said he wants to have an idea by the end of the next pretrial how long it will take to get ready to try the case, then set pretrial dates and the trial itself so they have a goal to shoot for.

Another co-defendant in the case, Kimonie Bryant, 25, has a pretrial scheduled for Oct. 25. Bryant could face the death penalty if convicted of Sweeney’s death. He was indicted shortly after Sweeney was killed.

Kimonie Bryant, Struthers homicide

Crump was arrested in November as a juvenile on aggravated robbery charges in connection with Sweeney’s death but was not indicted on murder charges until March, when his case was bound over from juvenile court.

Although Crump also has death penalty specifications attached to his indictment, he can not receive the death penalty because he was a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed.

Andre McCoy, 21, was also indicted in March for Sweeney’s death but authorities have not been able to find him after he suffered a gunshot wound to the head in the same shooting that killed Sweeney and received treatment for his wound.

Andre Stephon Mccoy, Jr., wanted fugitive

Bryant was originally slated to be tried in September, but his trial was pushed back because of similar issues with discovery. A date has not been set yet for Bryant’s trial.

Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin said one thing that might factor into scheduling the trials is determining who fired the shot that killed Sweeney. She said recently witness statements have been shifting, now saying that Crump is the person who is responsible for Sweeney’s death. She said detectives are trying to get a better answer as to who fired the fatal shots.

Determining who fired the fatal shots would probably be a factor in who should be tried first, McLaughlin said.

“This is a case with a lot of moving parts,” McLaughlin said.

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