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Prosecutors seek reinstatement of murder charge in Youngstown case

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A Mahoning County judge is considering a motion from prosecutors to reverse her decision, and dismiss a murder charge filed against a Youngstown man.

Paul Brown had been charged with the shooting death of 17-year-old Ashten Jackson, who had been reported missing on May 25, 2009, nearly one week before authorities found his body on the city's east side.

Judge Maureen Sweeney dismissed the charge last month, after Brown's attorney, Anthony Meranto argued that Youngstown police investigators mishandled cell phone evidence that he says could have cleared Brown.

But prosecutors argued on Tuesday that an internal investigation found no mishandling of evidence, and no wrongdoing by police.

Lieutenant John Kelty was the lead detective on the murder case, and has come under fire because of allegations by the defense. But Lt. Kelty says from the internal investigation has proven that Youngstown Police Officers did their job.

"Well it's certainly a sense of vindication for myself, and definitely affirmation to the citizens of Youngstown, and probably more importantly April Jackson herself - that the Youngstown Police Department nor I have to commit crimes to solve them," Kelty said.

Judge Sweeney has taken the case under advisement and is expected to issue a decision as early as Wednesday.

As prosecutors await that decision they plan to head to the 7th District Court of Appeals, to make their case, the deadline to file with the appeals court is also Wednesday.

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