YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The judge presiding over the trial of the two people charged with the murder of a 4-year-old Struthers boy said Thursday he believed that once DNA testing was completed for one of the defendants, the business would start to make a fast track.
“The pace of the case is going to pick up dramatically,” Judge Anthony D’Apolito said during a preliminary hearing for Brandon Crump, one of two men charged in the shooting death of Rowan Sweeney in September 2020 at his mother’s home on Perry Street.
Kimonie Bryant, 25, is also charged in the case.
Prosecutors have yet to decide which of the two men will be tried first as they await DNA test results in the Bryant case.
The tests were due to be carried out in May, but were postponed due to confusion over whether a defense expert could watch the tests in person or via Zoom. The expert had to be there.
The DNA issue has been hotly debated for almost a year and when the timetable was turned upside down last month, Judge Anthony D’Apolito was not very happy, ordering that the tests be completed by the 30 June. Last week, prosecutors and Bryant’s attorneys said testing will be done the week of July 18.
Judge D’Apolito said the results should be out by the end of August, which will then allow prosecutors to decide who to try first. He said the first of those trials should take place six months after the end of the tests to allow time for defense lawyers to study the evidence and raise objections, if necessary.
One of Crump’s attorneys, Lou DeFabio, said he’s been in a “holding pattern” because he’s not sure what the tests will say, so he’s not exactly sure yet. of its defense strategy.
Both Bryant and Crump have been charged in the boy’s death, meaning the death penalty can be carried out if found guilty. However, since Crump was a minor at the time the crime was committed, under state law he cannot be put to death.
Bryant was originally charged in October 2020 for Sweeney’s death which was part of a replacement indictment in March 2021 that included Crump as well as 21-year-old Andre McCoy.
McCoy was injured in the same shootout that killed Sweeney and injured two others. Prosecutors have been unable to find him, and they have not said how McCoy could have been shot in the head while still being part of the conspiracy that resulted in Sweeney’s death. McCoy could also face the death penalty if convicted.
Three other people were also charged in the replacement indictment with other roles in the case.
Prosecutors have never said which items were collected that contain the DNA being tested.
Police and prosecutors say Sweeney was killed by a group of men who came to his mother’s Perry Street home to rob her boyfriend of several thousand dollars he had received from a stimulus check.