The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 23, 2013

Fugitive charged in 1997 Ashtabula murder turns self in

Jawann Evans and four of his fellow suspects arraigned

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A fugitive charged with a 1997 murder turned himself in Friday, according to the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office.

Jawann Evans, one of six men charged with the murder of Ronald “Maceo” Hull, surrendered to police shortly after four other men charged in the same murder were arraign-ed in Ashta-bula County Common Pleas Court with Judge Alfred Mack-ey presiding.

“(Evans) just walked up to the (Sheriff’s Office) window and turned himself in,” Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Terry Moisio said. “We took him upstairs (at the courthouse) and arraigned him.”

Six men are charged with gunning down Hull on Feb. 9, 1997, outside an Ashtabula apartment on West 38th Street. Money and drugs were the motives, Moisio has said.

Four of the six arrested Feb. 12 were arraigned Friday morning in front of a courtroom packed with members of the suspects’ families, the victim’s family, law enforcement and attorneys for the defendants. Everyone remained quiet during the proceedings, except for a shout-out of “I love you” to defendant Stephen Boles as he exited the courtroom.

The defendants arraigned together Friday morning are: Stephen Boles and George L. Church, both of Ashtabula; and Troy Jones and Eric Weaver, both of Youngstown. They are being held in the Ashtabula County Jail.

All four were pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the following charges: aggravated murder, with two firearm specifications, kidnapping with two firearm specifications and felonious assault with two firearm specifications. All four face life imprisonment.

Ashtabula County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Harold Specht asked Mackey to set the bail at $1 million cash or surety, based on the violent nature of the crime and the severe penalty.

Mackey set bond at $500,000 cash or surety with 10 percent deposit rule with the condition there be no contact with the victim’s family for every one of the defendants.

The judge never wavered from that decision even when Weaver’s appointed attorney, Virginia Miller of Jefferson, said her client had eight children at home and suffered with back trouble, “making his time in jail uncomfortable.”

All of the defendants’ cases were assigned to Mackey’s court and the pretrials will be held as soon as possible, the judge said.

Mackey arraigned the sixth man, John E. Drummond Jr., on Thursday after law enforcement transported him to Jefferson from the Chillocothe Correctional Institution, where he is awaiting execution on an unrelated murder charge, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website. He was incarcerated in 2004.

Drummond’s bond is the same as the other defendants, according to court officials.

The sheriff’s detectives, U.S. Marshals Service Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, with the assistance of the Ashtabula Police Department, worked with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to solve the Hull murder case.

The cold case investigation was pursued by two sheriff’s office detectives, Taylor Cleveland and Sean Ward, who worked diligently on the case, Moisio has said.