YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man already serving 58 years to life in prison for a shooting death pleaded guilty Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for a second shooting death.
Lavontae Knight, 28, of Youngstown, entered a plea of guilty before Judge John Durkin to a charge of involuntary manslaughter for the Oct. 25, 2018, shooting death of Joshua Donatelli, 26, at his Imperial Street home on the West Side.
Knight was sentenced to eight years in prison to run concurrent with his other sentence.
Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews said prosecutors offered the plea because of the lengthy sentence in the other case. Andrews, Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Paris and defense attorney Lou DeFabio negotiated for about two and a half hours before an agreement was reached.
The sentence was recommended by the attorneys in the case and upheld by Judge Durkin.
On Sept. 13, 2022, Knight was sentenced by Judge Durkin after a jury convicted him on charges of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and weapons charges for the Dec. 30, 2018, shooting death of Trevice Harris, 37, and the wounding of his girlfriend.
Prosecutors said Harris and his girlfriend were shot after they were taken at gunpoint from a home on Ferndale Avenue. They said Knight and an unidentified man drove the girlfriend’s SUV to East Earle Avenue and Erie Street, got out and Knight shot into the SUV, hitting Harris in the head and wounding the girlfriend.
The girlfriend drove to a 3200 Market St. gas station to get help, which is where police and ambulances met her. Harris died on his way to the hospital.
In July 2021, Judge Durkin granted a motion by a former attorney for Knight to remove an assistant prosecutor in the Donatelli case for failure to provide evidence for his defense. That prosecutor later resigned and is now a prosecutor in another county.
Police said Donatelli was killed during a robbery at his home.