Drummond sentenced in ’97 murder

A former Youngstown gang member who was granted a new trial earlier this week for fatally shooting a 3-month-old was sentenced Friday to life in prison for a separate 1997 cold case murder.

Former Lincoln Knolls Crips gang member John Drummond, 36, who was removed from death row in 2011, was sentenced Friday by Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey to life in prison with a three-year sentencing enhancement for using an automatic weapon during the murder and kidnapping.

A jury convicted Drummond Wednesday of the kidnapping and aggravated murder of an Ashtabula man over drugs and a $10,000 drug debt.

Drummond and five others were charged in January with the Feb. 8, 1997 kidnapping and murder of Ronald Hull in an Ashtabula apartment on West 38th Street.

All five pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges. Troy Jones, of Youngstown, and Jawann Evans, of Ashtabula, were both sentenced to three years prison and former Ashtabula residents Eric Weaver and George Church were sentenced to two years in prison. A sixth man was sentenced to three years probation.

A federal appeals court panel on Monday upheld a ruling granting Drummond a new trial, more than nine years after he was originally convicted and sentenced to death.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Appeals Court panel ruled 2-1 decision that Drummond will have a new murder trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court because a disgraced judge wrongfully ordered his trial closed while three witnesses testified.

Drummond was convicted 2004 of fatally shooting the Jiyen Dent Jr. on March 24, 2003 in a gang-retaliation shooting aimed at Dent’s father. He fired 11 bullets from an assault rifle into the home because he wrongly believed Dent Sr. had something to do with the murder of another Lincoln Knolls Crips gang member.

Drummond was convicted of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications, attempted murder, two counts of attempting to cause bodily harm through the use of a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure and use of a firearm while under disability.

He was sentenced to death until he was taken off death row by U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi in 2011, who ruled then-Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Cronin violated Drummond’s right to an open trial.

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