Charges dismissed in area assault case
STEUBENVILLE – Felonious assault charges were dismissed Wednesday afternoon against Corey Lyons in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.
But federal prosecutors will now decide if Lyons violated his parole for his alleged involvement in a brawl last May that ended with one man shot and Lyons under arrest.
One hour after the trial resumed Wednesday afternoon, Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin asked for a sidebar conference with defense attorney Walter Madison and Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr.
Bruzzese called for a break to meet with the attorneys in his office and 10 minutes later returned to the courtroom to dismiss the jury.
“An issue has come up that can’t be resolved in the next hour so you are done for the day. You should report back at 9 a.m. Thursday,” Bruzzese told the jurors.
Bruzzese and the attorneys again left the courtroom and everyone but news reporters were ordered to leave the courtroom.
When the judge and attorneys returned, Hanlin asked for the felonious assault charges to be dismissed.
“I don’t feel ethically the case should proceed,” Hanlin stated.
Following the court proceedings Hanlin, as a prosecutor, said, “I have certain ethical responsibilities. There is always information known to the prosecutor. There were things said at the grand jury proceedings that are different from what was said at this trial.”
Hanlin said she could not discuss the specifics of her concerns.
“This was a matter of what is right,” she added.
Hanlin said Lyons is on parole from federal prison for pleading guilty in 2008 to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine.
Lyons had been sentenced to more than eight years in a federal prison, and Hanlin said Wednesday Lyons will remain in the Jefferson County jail pending a review of the local case by federal parole officials.
Madison said he was “grateful I could do something for my client.”
“Sometime the ball of justice bounces different ways. This is a rare moment when attorneys should embrace the law because the right thing was done today,” Madison said.
Two witnesses, including Tonya Wallace and her fiancee, Eric Montgomery, testified Wednesday before the trial was stopped.
Wallace said she had tried to act as a “peacemaker” when she saw two of her children involved in a fight near the Pleasant Heights Convenience Store on Maxwell Avenue in the Pleasant Heights neighborhood.
“Corey Lyons pulled up in his car and jumped out and then he punched me. I took his keys from his car and said I wanted the police to come. The police came and the fighting ended for some time. The police came again and I went on my porch after the second altercation,” Wallace testified.
“Brandon Young came to the house to speak to his sister. I was tired and I went inside to go to bed, when I heard a gunshot. I saw Corey all in black with a black hat run by with a gun in his hand. I am 100 percent certain it was him,” Wallace stated.
Montgomery said he saw two people that night with guns.
“When the shooting started I jumped over the porch railing. I could hear the bullets hitting Brandon. I was lying down and the bullets were flying. That’s when I saw someone run past,” testified Montgomery.
Lyons was indicted by a county grand jury in May on two counts of felonious assault and a single count of tampering with evidence as well as having a weapon as a convicted felon.
Young drove himself to the Trinity Medical Center West emergency room and then was taken by a medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital with three bullet wounds.
During the first day of the trial the jurors watched a City Police video tape showing a chaotic scene when officers responded to the shooting at approximately 2 a.m. on May 22.
The jurors watched two videos where people can be heard screaming Brandon Young had been shot and telling the police Corey Lyons shot him.
A police department supervisor also can be heard telling people to “get back, get back, you have to get back.” He also called for additional help and advised the police department to call for help from other police departments in the area.
The supervisor also can be heard on the police audio tape telling another officer to put Lyons in a cruiser.
“We have to protect him from this crowd,” the unidentified officer can be heard saying.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)