YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There will not be a trial for the man who killed a South Side Youngstown store owner in November.
Larry McDonald, 19, pleaded guilty Friday to charges of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery as part of a plea deal and was sentenced to 33-years-to-life in prison in the shooting death of Abdullah Mahdi at Reema’s Fashions on South Avenue.
McDonald’s trial was supposed to begin Monday. He also was injured in the shooting after what police called a shootout between the two men. McDonald was shot in the stomach and came to court in a wheelchair for his initial court appearance.
People close to the victim said they are happy all of this is over. Sanaa Abbas, one of the victim’s co-workers, was standing right beside Mahdi when he was shot inside his store.
She did not make it to court on Friday, but she found out from a friend that the trial was not going to happen.
“He came in here and he’s like ‘it’s done’,” Abbas said. “I am very relieved that we are done and Abdullah got his justice. May he rest in peace.”
There is a new patch of carpet where Mahdi’s body laid after he was shot. Abbas saw it all happen, and did not want to go through it again.
“Being next to him when this happened was a stress to me. To go and have to relive it and have to go through the pictures and talk to him and directly keep looking at this kid,” Abbas said.
Nabil Abuengeela was in court when the verdict was read.
“Everything is in the court’s hands, but at least for right now, that is some of the justice,” he said.
He often shops at Reemas Fashion store, and happened to be there the day his friend was killed.
“I still feel bad for my friend and for his family and for all the community. We miss one of our best friends,” Abuengeela said.
As they smile through the pain, their satisfaction comes from closure. They hope others will learn from their loss.
“We beat the worst part of it. Hopefully everybody else decides to learn a lesson. You don’t want to be young and lose your life over nothing, just something stupid, and someone else is losing their life and their family,” Abbas said.