YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It will be back to square-one for the fifth time for a Youngstown man charged with a murder six years ago.
Paul Brown is accused of killing Ashton Jackson, whose body was found in a field on Youngstown’s east side in 2009. On Wednesday, Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney declared a mistrial.
This is the fourth mistrial since Brown was first arrested and Sweeney declared it after learning the defense was never given a copy of a witness interview before the video was played Tuesday in court. Attorneys on both sides told the judge they thought the evidence had been shared beforehand.
“This should not happen. It is really nobody’s fault and it is important that Paul’s rights are protected. And to do that, as much as he does not want to sit another month, we have to do this to make sure the process is done according to the rules,” defense attorney Anthony Meranto said.
Although Brown told the judge he wanted to see the case dismissed entirely, a new trial date was scheduled for July 20.
“It is not my fault. They had the evidence right here in court. It is six years. Five times. Six years. Six years,” Brown said.
His sister also said she would have liked to see the case dismissed.
“It has been six years, four mistrials, now we gotta go through a fifth one. Something ridiculous here. When does it stop? When does it end? Let’s call for a dismissal so he can finally move on with his life and me as well,” Brown’s sister, Mamie Brown, said.
Although the case was thrown out twice in the last three years because of concerns over the way detectives handled evidence, prosecutors said they thought they had taken care of any potential loose ends.
The case made headlines in 2013 when Judge Sweeney declared a mistrial amid accusations that investigators had mishandled Brown’s cell phone. Eventually, detectives were able to show the phone had not been tampered with, and the murder charges were reinstated.
“We figured that was done, when yesterday attorney Meranto said that was not done by him. We had no way of knowing that,” Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalemessa said.
Meranto said he had no evidence that anybody did anything intentionally wrong.
A hearing will be held Thursday to determine whether Brown can get out of jail on bond for the first time since his arrest.
He has been incarcerated on both this charge, as well as a federal weapons conviction, since 2009.