Youngstown death ruled homicide, suspect arrested

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown police have arrested one person in connection to the death of man found lying in a puddle Wednesday night.

Jayjuan Hardy, 40, was arrested Friday in the death of James Robert Syster, 55, of Youngstown.

Syster was found just after 10 p.m. Wednesday by a man who was walking in a wooded area near Front and Hazel streets.

Investigators said the victim was lying face down in a puddle and looked like he had been in a fight. He had a swollen black and blue eye and cuts on his face.

Mahoning County Coroner Dr. Joseph Ohr has ruled the death a homicide and it appears, at least at this point, that Syster drowned. Police said Hardy got into a fight with Syster and knocked him out, with Syster landing in a puddle.

Ohr said there is no evidence that Syster was held under the water, but it appears he was unconscious when he fell into the puddle.

Hardy is scheduled to appear in court next week. He was previously convicted of assault in 2009 and a drug abuse charge in 1993.

It is the city’s fourth homicide of the year.

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