The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 22, 2014

22-year-old woman charged in Ashtabula double murder

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A 22-year-old mother of two, accused of covering up evidence in the Nov. 25 double murder in Ashtabula, cried Friday when the judge raised her bond.

Shaqualla Montgomery, 316 Fox Drive, Ashtabula, was arraigned Friday on charges of obstructing justice in a pending murder case, a third-degree felony; tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony. She pleaded not guilty to all charges.

“She has two children ... ages 3 years and 8 months at home,” said Montgomery’s attorney, Timothy Deeb of Willoughby. “She needs to take care of them ... She’s not going anywhere, she’s a low flight risk.”

Trying to persuade the judge with an emotional appeal for the young mother, Deeb said Montgomery knew these charges were coming and didn’t flee from the law.

Ashtabula County’s Chief Assistant Prosecutor Harold Specht said she didn’t know the involuntary manslaughter charge was coming down.

“She took part in covering up evidence,” Specht said. “The chances of flight are greater.”

He recommended Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey raise Montgomery’s bail from $15,000 to $100,000.

Mackey set the bond at $100,000 cash or surety 10 percent.

“There have been too many deaths in this county in the past few months,” he said.

With hands cuffed together, Montgomery wiped tears from her eyes.

Prosecutors said Montgomery purposely hindered police in their investigation of the shooting deaths of Elliott Pacman Dowdell and LeDondre Raimey at a Hiawatha Avenue house on Nov. 25.

Judge Ronald Vettel was appointed the case because Montgomery’s co-defendants, Brianna Bernard and Edward Booman Smith, have been assigned to Vettel’s court. All of the defendants are being held in the Ashtabula County jail.