Suspect turns down deal

WARREN – A 28-year-old Youngstown man whose eight-count indictment links him to the drug overdose death of a 17-year-old Girard High School student turned down a plea deal offer Thursday, setting the stage for a trial to begin Monday.

Jury selection will get under way in the courtroom of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice, who along with assistant county prosecutor Charles Morrow reminded James Lamar Patterson that the offer was off the table as of Thursday.

Patterson, also known as “Fresh,” of Division Street, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of corrupting another with drugs, three counts of trafficking heroin, two of them with forfeiture proceedings, possession of cocaine with a forfeiture proceeding, and tampering with evidence.

He was indicted last September in the April 6, 2012, heroin overdose of Christine M. Sheesley, a junior at Girard High, whose death was ruled an accidental drug overdose, the result of heroin intoxication, according to the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office.

Morrow said Patterson, who is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond, faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Morrow offered a plea deal that would have called for about 10 years behind bars. Patterson turned it down after conferring with his attorney, James Lanzo, for about 20 minutes.

Also indicted in the case was Tyler Scott Stevens, 20, of Park Avenue, Girard, who has remained in Trumbull County Jail in lieu of $250,000 since he was indicted before Patterson.

Stevens pleaded guilty April 4 to charges of involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, trafficking in heroin and permitting drug abuse. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos on May 20.