Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
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92-year sentence imposed in murder at frat house

YOUNGSTOWN -- A man has been sentenced to 92 years to life in prison for a fraternity house shooting in Ohio last year that left one man dead and 11 others wounded.

Columbus Jones, Jr., 23, was sentenced Thursday after being convicted of murder and other charges in the fatal shooting of Jamail Johnson, a senior at Youngstown State University, court officials said Friday.

Prosecutors said Jones left a fraternity party at Youngstown State after a quarrel on Feb. 6, 2011, then came back with a gun and started shooting, the Youngstown Vindicator newspaper reported. Mr. Johnson, 25, was killed while trying to usher a group of party-goers away from the gunfire and out of harm's way, according to police.

A jury had earlier found Jones guilty of murder, improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation, and 10 counts of felonious assault, according to the court clerk's office.

Mr. Johnson's mother, Shirlene Hill, and three other people with connections to Mr. Johnson or other shooting victims, tearfully asked the judge Thursday for a lengthy sentence for Jones.

In comments in court before the sentencing, Ms. Hill criticized Jones for what she said was a lack of remorse or respect for victims' families during the trial. She told Jones that "your senseless act has cost me countless sleepless nights" and that he robbed her "of a precious treasure that night."

Jones, on the advice of his attorney, Lou DeFabio, had no comment in court, the newspaper reported.

Mr. DeFabio said he and Jones were limited in what they could say because the case will be appealed. The defense lawyer did say there was no testimony that his client ever intended to hurt anyone at the party, and he does not believe his client showed any disrespect to the family of the victims during the trial.

Mr. DeFabio was out of his office Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Judge John Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court said that "it was an act of God that more people were not killed that night." Then he sentenced Jones to the consecutive sentences totaling 92 years to life.

Five others charged in connection with the shooting are awaiting trial.

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