YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man already serving a 21 to life sentence for murder was sentenced in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to life without parole for a second murder.
Brian Donlow, 25, was also sentenced to 11 to 16 years for attempted murder by Judge Anthony D’Apolito for a November, 2018 shooting that killed Christopher Jackson, 21 of Warren and wounded another man.
Donlow was found guilty April 28 by Judge D’Apolito following a bench trial where Donlow acted as his own attorney.
Jackson was found shot to death in a car at Stewart and Bennington avenues on the East Side.
The driver of the car was wounded but managed to get away.
Jackson’s sister, Shalanda Carter, said her brother was the youngest of seven siblings who wanted to start his own auto repair business.
“He was funny,” she told the judge. “He was a free-spirited, kind-hearted guy. He was respectful. He never held any grudges.”
Her brother’s death has affected her and the family in countless ways, she said, adding she had to take a break from her job.
“I’ve been angry, anxious, isolated and depressed. I couldn’t function without a mental breakdown. As time passes, it does not get any easier,” she said.
Carter said she and other family members have been in counseling to help deal with her brother’s death.
Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa asked that Judge D’Apolito run all the sentences consecutive to Donlow’s first murder conviction. She said he has a history of lawlessness, including a felonious assault conviction in Stark County as well as the murder conviction.
In February 2020, Donlow was sentenced for the June 30, 2018 shooting death of Brandon Wylie, 30, in the Plaza View apartment complex, also on the East Side.
His co-defendant in the Wylie case is one of two other defendants in Jackson’s death. Their cases will be heard at a later date.
Although Donlow served as his own attorney, he asked that the attorney who was his “stand by counsel” during the trial, John P. Laczko, represent him at sentencing and for an appeal he plans to file.
Donlow did not comment because of his pending appeal.
Carter asked for the maximum sentence so that Donlow can never again hurt another family like he hurt hers.
The sentence Donlow received will run consecutive to the sentence he is serving for Donlow’s murder.