By WARREN DILLAWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org
ASHTABULA — A 21-year-old Ashtabula man is being held on $300,000 case-surety bond after he was officially charged with murder Monday afternoon in Ashtabula Municipal Court.
Denzil A. Yates of Ashtabula was charged with one count of murder following a Friday evening shooting that killed James Anderson, 24, of Youngstown.
“I will leave it up to the county prosecutor to decide whether there was prior calculation,” said Ashtabula Solicitor Mike Franklin of the possibility of an aggravated murder charge.
Franklin said Yates told police a debt may have been at the center point of the shooting. “He (Yates) made a statement that the deceased person was trying to collect money from him,” he said.
Anderson was shot just after 6 p.m. Friday in the 900 block of West 43rd Street. Franklin said police made contact with Yates a short time after the incident but he did not appear to be connected with the shooting.
As the investigation continued he became a person of interest and was picked up for questioning Friday evening, Franklin said. “He ultimately admitted to the shooting,” he said.
Franklin said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing. “I wouldn’t categorize the investigation as completed,” Franklin said.
Franklin said police are still looking for witnesses to the crime.
More than 20 people attended the brief initial appearance before Ashtabula Municipal Court Judge Albert Camplese. He told Yates the penalty for the murder charge is 15 years to life and a $15,000 fine.
Twenty people were put through a metal detecting wand search to insure the safety of the accused and those attending the hearing.
Friends and family members of the victim and Yates attended the hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes.
“I love you,” one person said to Yates as he was led away. Yates responded by saying,”I love you too.”
An apparent friend or family member of the victim said, “I love you too because I love even my enemies.”
A morning television initial appearance was ready to start when Franklin asked for, and received, a continuance. The appearance was re-scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and occurred in open court.
Yates was picked up about 9:30 p.m. at West 39th Street and West Avenue on Friday night. A car was also towed from the scene to the Ashtabula Police Department.