Jury recommends death penalty in Ohio triple slayings

Psychologist Robert Kaplan said 21-year-old Douglas Shine Jr. was pressured to join a street gang when he was 14 years old

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CLEVELAND (AP) — A jury recommended the death penalty Saturday for a young man convicted of aggravated murder and other charges in a triple homicide at a suburban Cleveland barbershop.

Earlier this month, the same jury had found 21-year-old Douglas Shine Jr. guilty of aggravated murder and dozens of other charges related to the February 2015 shooting at Chalk Linez barbershop in Warrensville Heights and his role in killing an eyewitness two months later.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg must now decide whether to impose that sentence or give Shine life in prison with no chance of parole. She scheduled formal sentencing for Dec. 5.

Messages left Saturday with Shine’s attorneys were not immediately returned.

Defense attorneys on Wednesday began laying out their case for why Shine should not die by lethal injection.

A psychologist who examined Shine and reviewed hundreds of pages of school, jail, prison and social services records had testified that he had no clear role model growing up.

Psychologist Robert Kaplan said Shine’s mother spent four months in jail when he was 6 months old and frequently abused him. He said Shine first went to juvenile detention center when he was 10 on a burglary charge and was pressured to join a street gang when he was 14 and transferred to a youth prison.

During a murder trial that spanned more than two months, prosecutors and witnesses recounted for jurors a story of revenge and cold-blooded violence wrought by Shine and others.

Prosecutors said Shine went to Chalk Linez on Feb. 5 of last year to kill 23-year-old Walter Lee Barfield, a rival gang member who worked at the shop, shooting him 19 times. He also killed 32-year-old owner William Gonzalez and 31-year-old Brandon White, a customer who went to the shop every Thursday for a haircut and to play video games. Two men and a woman were also struck and wounded that night.

Shine’s mission to kill Barfield was rooted in a feud between the Heartless Felons, Shine’s gang, and a rival gang called Loyal Always, prosecutors said. Shine tried to kill Barfield weeks before the Chalk Linez slaying after Barfield stole a gun from another Heartless felon, prosecutors said.

The Chalk Linez killings spawned the fatal shooting of an eyewitness to the slayings. The jury convicted Shine of aggravated murder for conspiring with his brother from jail to kill Aaron Ladson, the brother of Brandon White. Prosecutors said it was Ladson who identified Shine as the Chalk Linez killer. Shine’s brother, 30-year-old Kevin McKinney, is awaiting trial on aggravated murder charges in the April 2015 slaying of Ladson.

Three jurors were dismissed and replaced by alternates during the trial, including a woman who told authorities that a member of Shine’s family approached her daughter outside a school to talk about the case. Shine’s 37-year-old aunt has been charged with obstruction of justice.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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