A man described by prosecutors as one of the area’s most prolific drug dealers was indicted Thursday on charges he committed a double murder in September, meaning authorities believe he is responsible for killing four people in two years to solidify his position as a top heroin dealer.
DeWaylyn Colvin, 31, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in March following a lengthy investigation into Colvin’s drug ring, was indicted on the additional aggravated murder charges for killing a drug dealer and his innocent girlfriend, according to police.
Another man who authorities allege helped Colvin in the four murders, Michael L. Austin, 19, of Youngstown, was also charged with killing Ryan K. Slade, 20, and Keara McCullough, 19, on Sept. 19, while the two were driving on Benford Lane near Warwick Avenue.
Police said Slade was a low-level marijuana dealer but McCullough was a “completely innocent victim.”
“She was basically just like collateral damage,” said Youngstown Det. Ron Rodway. “It was like an ‘Oh, well, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ according to the people we talked to.”
Family members said McCullough was a Chaney High School graduate and worked at VXI Global Solutions call center.
Investigators on Friday said Austin acted as Colvin’s hitman in the murders. They said Colvin ordered Slade’s murder because Slade slapped one of Colvin’s friend’s girlfriend.
Slade was shot in 2010 and was involved in a large fight in 2011.
Records said on May 10, 2010, Slade was shot in the stomach and hip behind Taft Elementary School. He told officers he heard gunfire, realized he was shot and drove to a friend’s home in the 500 block of E. Avondale Avenue.
Police found him bleeding in his car. Witnesses said three men approached Slade and fired shots, then fled.
About one year later, Slade and four others were arrested at Milton State Park after a fight over a basketball involving nearly 50 people.
Reports said on May 30, Slade and others began fighting over a basketball at about 4 a.m.
Nearly 25 officers from six departments were called to quell the disturbance. Police used pepper spray to apprehend some involved.
Slade eventually pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor rioting charge in Mahoning County Austintown Area Court. He served 20 days in the Mahoning County Jail.
Colvin, Austin, and Hakeem D. Henderson, 21, of Salem and California, were indicted in April for killing two people in November in what police termed “assassinations.”
All three face life in prison for killing Adam Christian, 23, and Raymond Hayes, 20, on Nov. 13 and Nov. 15, respectively. Investigators said Colvin ordered the duo murdered. Colvin then ordered Hayes to be murdered following the assassinations because Hayes was telling too many people about the killings.
Hayes “was fallout because, we were getting information and have witnesses who said that (Hayes” started talking about the Christian homicide, so they had to silence him,” said Det. Pat Kelly.
Both Christian and Hayes were killed and left in fields on the city’s East Side. Christian was found dead in a field in the 1400 block of Woodcrest Avenue.
Hayes was found three days later by a motorist on Gerwig Avenue and Knapp Street. Police found 11 shell casings around his body and believed he was brought to the sparsely populated area to be murdered.
During Colvin’s sentencing hearing in the drug trafficking case, St. Dominic Pastor Fr. Greg Maturi said Colvin gave information that ultimately helped investigators find who killed 80-year-old Angeline Fimognari. Police originally charged Jamar Houser, who was eventually cleared.
Police said they found Duane Colvin, 32, killed Fimognari during a robbery attempt after they exhumed his body and matched a handprint found by investigators. Duane Colvin was fatally shot Sept. 24. His body was found in a field on Ferndale Avenue and the murder is unsolved.
DeWaylyn Colvin was sentenced to six years in prison in 2005 after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the killing of Eric Martinez, 16, who was fatally shot in the driveway of a Josephine Street home. Colvin showed up at the hospital about an hour later with five gunshot wounds.
Austin also is facing charges for trying to kill Deray Johnson on Dec. 23, 2012. Austin, who was convicted in 2009 of aggravated burglary as a juvenile, was charged with having a weapons as a felon.