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Steubenville man now facing arson and murder charges

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday added an arson charge to the murder charge facing a city man.

Jason C. Twiley, 27, of Steubenville now faces an aggravated arson charge in connection with the Aug. 12 murder of 32-year-old Brittany Littlejohn.

Twiley, Littlejohn’s boyfriend, had been identified by city police as a person of interest hours after finding her body in a detached garage near her Maxwell Avenue home and her living room engulfed in flames. Police Chief Bill McCafferty said at the time evidence discovered at the scene led detectives to believe Littlejohn had been murdered.

Twiley was arrested on Sept. 20 in Louisville, the U.S. Marshal Service in the Western District of Kentucky reported.

Twiley was indicted on a charge of murder last month.

County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said the state fire marshal released its report showing gasoline was used to light three fires inside the house.

Four men were indicted on burglary charges which also led to Tuesday’s sentencing of a city man for having a gun while under disability.

Patrick T. Mazik, 32, of Belmont, Tyler M. Harding, 21, of St. Clairsville, John A. Nice Jr., 20, of Belmont and Austin Humes, 21, of Wheeling all were charged with burglary for an incident at a city home on Aug. 31.

City Police reported seeing two cars flee the scene after shots were fired in the 1400 block of Oak Grove Avenue.

An officer spotted the vehicles near the intersection of University Boulevard and Brady Avenue and pulled in front of the lead vehicle, forcing it to stop. That car, which had a flattened tire and was leaking oil and gas, was occupied by Mazik and Harding, police said.

Mazik was “frantically stating that the other vehicle behind him was shooting at them and that the driver had a gun,” the responding officer said. “At the same time, I observed the second vehicle…pull up alongside Mr. Mazik’s vehicle and the driver…exit the vehicle rapidly and began to approach me, yelling. I ordered him to stop and get on the ground. He stopped, quickly got on the ground and then got up.”

That man, later identified as William Withers, 36, of 2721 Sunset Blvd., got back in his car “and began to leave, driving directly at me,” the officer wrote, adding he “continued closer to me, then stopped the vehicle and (put) it in reverse.

Withers eventually fled the scene but was later apprehended.

Withers claimed he saw several men trying to burglarize his father’s residence.

Withers was sentenced on Tuesday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. to three years in prison after Withers pleaded guilty to having a weapon under disability.

Christopher R. Roberson, 16, of Steubenville was indicted on charges of attempted murder and felonious assault, each with a firearm specification, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of drugs and having a weapon under disability. His case was bound over to adult court from juvenile court.

Roberson’s brother, Hezekiah Roberson, 17, of Steubenville was sentenced in March by Bruzzese to four years in prison after Hezekiah Roberson pleaded guilty to firing shots at another person.

Police were called around 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 about shots fired near the intersection of South Seventh and Slack streets.

Police reported a female had just picked up another person and was driving when she heard shots being fired. Police reported the woman saw a blue or black SUV behind her vehicle.

Police reported the woman’s vehicle wasn’t hit, but a vehicle parked in the 400 block of South Seventh Street was struck with gunfire.

Hanlin said the Robersons got out of a vehicle and fired shots. She said the incident was gang related.

Two Toronto men were indicted in connection with the attempted strangulation of a man inside a Toronto home on Sept. 22.

Patrick T. Ryan, 27, of 1107 N. Fourth St., Toronto, and Lawrence White, 51, of 188 National Road, Toronto, were each indicted on charges of felonious assault and complicity to felonious assault.

Toronto police reported Ryan and White went to the house of Charles Ward, 51, of 1111 N. River Ave., Toronto.

Police said the two men met Ward on the porch, where the beating started, and then proceeded into the house with the victim. Officers reported people inside the house called police.

Officers arrived and looked inside and saw one of the assailants choking Ward with an extension cord, police reported. The officers then kicked open the door and arrested Ryan and White.

Ward was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Toronto Police and the county drug task force raided Ward’s home on Oct. 22.

Ward was indicted on six counts of complicity to drug trafficking and single counts of permitting drug abuse and possession of drug paraphernalia. A woman inside the home, Nakeisha N. Henderson, 35, of Youngstown, was indicted on single counts of drug trafficking and possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia and five counts of complicity to drug trafficking.

Henderson is believed to be the supplier of the drugs, according to police.

Trevon A. Barnett, 19, of 226 McLister Ave., Mingo Junction, was indicted on a charge of aggravated robbery, with a firearm specification, and tampering with evidence.

City Police were called to the 300 block of South Commercial Avenue around 10 p.m. on Sept. 22 about a man saying he was sitting on his porch with a 14-year-old male juvenile, who is known to him, and an unknown adult. The adult pulled out a handgun and started beating the victim in the head, police reported. The juvenile held the victim down, and helped the man with the gun take the victim’s wallet, police reported.

The juvenile and the man with the gun then fled towards Lincoln Avenue, the victim told police. The victim followed their route and found his wallet, minus $200 in cash, police reported.

Other officers were given a description of the alleged robbers and found them in the area of Lincoln Avenue, near Railroad Avenue, police reported. Both were arrested after a short foot chase, police reported.

The juvenile, who is being held at the juvenile detention center, was found in possession of the loaded gun, police reported.

Leslie Jo Hancher-Palmer, 30, of 409 Williams St., Yorkville, and Kayla D. Williamson, 29, of Apartment 28, 1036 Main St., Rayland, each were indicted on a charge of trafficking in methamphetamine in the presence of a juvenile.

Hancher-Palmer was indicted in a separate case charging felony endangering children.

The grand jury also returned the following indictments:

¯ Larry E. Bennett, 39, of 109 Island Creek Township Road 582, Steubenville, two counts of rape involving a girl under the age of 13.

¯ Cardell R. Kinney, 37, of Cleveland, two counts of drug possession.

¯ Jeremiah W. Wade, 33, of 108 Grandview Ave., Mingo Junction, tampering with evidence and drug possession.

¯ Deana M. Gentile, 36, 101 Forest Lane, Dillonvale, single counts of burglary, receiving stolen property and breaking and entering and two counts of theft.

¯ James L. Blackwell, 41, of Cleveland, three counts of drug possession.

¯ Jacorey D. Culley, 22, of 1501 Oregon Ave., failure to comply with the order of a police officer, obstructing official business and reckless operation of a vehicle.

¯ William M. Raymond, 42, of 541 township Road 177, Mingo Junction, two counts of receiving stolen property.

¯ Kellie Pethtel, 35, of 101 township Road 286, Richmond, six counts of theft of drugs. Hanlin said Pethtel was a pharmacy technician at Walgreens.

¯ Zachary T. Baker, 30, of 6214 Cloudy Lane, Amsterdam, drug possession.

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