Suspect in Youngstown homeless man’s death released from jail

Jayjuane Hardy, a suspect in the death of a homeless man, was released from jail on Monday after pleading guilty to aggravated assault.
Jayjuane Hardy, a suspect in the death of a homeless man, was released from jail on Monday after pleading guilty to aggravated assault.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A homeless man was released from jail on Monday, although he pleaded guilty to an aggravated assault charge in court that same day.

Jayjuane Hardy was initially charged with murder in the death of another homeless man, James Syster, in May of 2014. Prosecutors said Hardy punched the victim, who was later found face down in a deep puddle where he drowned.

Prosecutors admitted in court Monday that they had a very difficult case to make, however.

“We had no evidence. No one that was able to say how Mr. Syster got into that pool. So, I believe we would have been able to prove an assault, but I don’t think we could have proved the murder,” said Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Rob Andrews.

Although Hardy pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault charge and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, he has already spent more time in Mahoning County Jail. With credit for the time served, that meant Hardy could be released.

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