The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 25, 2014

‘Bula man gets 21 years to life in pot-murder case

JEFFERSON —

A 22-year-old Ashtabula man was sentenced Tuesday to  21 years to life in prison for his role in the slaying of man over $150 owed for  a purchase of marijuana.
Last month, an Ashtabula County jury convicted Denzil Yates of murder with a firearm and tampering with evidence in the 2013 death of James Anderson.
Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey handed down the sentence: three years for tampering with evidence, three years for the gun specification and 15 years to life for fatally shooting Anderson — for a total of 21 years.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Harold Specht said he was pleased with the sentence.
“This is the maximum he could get,” he said. 
Yates testified in the trial and admitted he shot Anderson because he was convinced Anderson was going to kill him, and harm his sister and mother.
Ashtabula County Pros-ecutor Nicholas Iarocci praised Specht, the Ashtabula Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, known as BCI.
Yates was accused of shooting to death 24-year-old Anderson in the 900 block of West 43rd Street in Ashtabula on March 22, 2013. Police contend the men argued over about $150 that Yates owed for a marijuana purchase.
During the trial, Yates testified that he had a clean record and never fired a gun before the day he met Anderson on West 43rd Street. He said he believed Anderson was going to kill him because he didn’t have the money.
Yates said he ran away from the scene of the crime because he was afraid the police wouldn’t believe his story.

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