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Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley said his department is reviewing options after a murder charge was dismissed Monday against a man accused of killing a 17-year-old boy in 2009 because of mishandled evidence.
Paul Brown, 35, was cleared of murder charges on Monday. He was accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Ashten Jackson during a botched 2009 robbery. His body was found behind a building on Jacobs Road.
Brown is still in the midst of serving a federal prison sentence for having a weapon as a felon during the time the murder happened.
A judge dismissed the case after it was found a Youngstown police officer tampered with Brown’s cell phone that his attorney claimed could have helped exonerate Brown. Detectives also withheld other evidence from defense attorneys that could have helped Brown’s case, causing a mistrial.
Foley said an internal investigation will be conducted review the case. They will also interview any officer that came into contact with the phone while it was in police custody.
County prosecutors said they are also reviewing the case to see whether they can seek a third trial against Brown.
“Try to figure out how we got to this point,” Foley said. “In the second trial, this was not known about from four years ago. So we need to get back to basics here and look at the process. Is there a glitch in the process or was somebody negligent in the process? Then we go from there.”