YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A jury returned a verdict Wednesday afternoon in an Austintown murder case.
The jury found Steve Green, 26, guilty of all counts of murder and aggravated murder.
The jury’s verdict came after Green testified earlier Wednesday that his gun went off when she grabbed it.
Green told jurors in the courtroom of Judge Anthony D’Apolito in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that Ashley Lockhart, 25, reached for his gun Oct. 8, 2021, as they argued in a parking lot of the Compass West apartment complex in Austintown.
Green said he was there to give Lockhart money he owed her when they started arguing and she called 911.
Green, under direct examination from attorney Mark Lavelle, said he tried to grab the phone so he could see who she was talking to when she reached for a gun he was carrying.
Green said he then pulled the gun and Lockhart knocked his wrist back. When that happened, the gun went off, he testified.
Green said he blacked out and didn’t remember anything that happened until a township detective talked to him a couple of hours later as he was driving in Niles.
Six shots were fired from the gun. Green said he has no idea how that many shots were fired.
Testimony in the case began Monday after a jury was selected.
Police said Lockhart was killed over a custody dispute. Green told Lavelle that earlier on the day she was killed, they had argued over Green taking their child to visit another child that may have been Green’s. Lockhart was against it, Green testified.
Green also admitted sending multiple texts to Lockhart threatening to kill her, but Green said that was the way he talked.
Under cross examination from Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews, Green admitted threatening her but denied stalking her. He said Lockhart would tell him where she was and he would also then go where she was.
He said he did tell Lockhart he would hire a lawyer and try to get custody of her child, but he did not kill her because of a custody dispute.
Lavelle admitted in opening statements that Green shot Lockhart, but he said the shooting was not premeditated.
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Green will receive his sentence at a later date.