Eight plead not guilty in connection to murder of Youngstown mom - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Eight plead not guilty in connection to murder of Youngstown mom

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Lavante Perry (L) Gabriel Smith (R) Lavante Perry (L) Gabriel Smith (R)
Crystal Hernandez 2 Crystal Hernandez 2

The suspects charged in connection to the shooting that left a young mother dead, and the drive-by shooting that allegedly sparked the feud, appeared in Mahoning County Court for the first time. 

The six suspects accused of firing more than 40 bullets that left 23-year-old Crystal Hernandez dead, were in court for the first time since being indicted by a Mahoning County Grand Jury last week. 

Twenty-one-year-old Marquise Torres-Willis, 22-year-old Joquin Blair, 18-year-old Larenz Rhodes, 18-year-old Martize Daniels, 19-year-old Burton McGee, and 19-year-old Maurice Redrick are each charged with aggravated murder, murder, conspiracy, felonious assault, and improperly discharging a firearm into the home. 

All six of them pleaded not guilty to the charges and were ordered to be held without bond. 

Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Smith, who is the boyfriend of Hernandez, and Levante Perry were charged with felonious assault in connection with a drive-by shooting. 

They also appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their bond of $50,000 each was carried over. 

All eight men are also charged with receiving stolen property and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.

According to authorities, Smith and the men charged in Hernandez's murder have had a long-standing feud over drugs and money.

According to Youngstown Law Director Jeff Limbian, Smith was shot at by one of the six men charged with Hernandez's murder. In retaliation, Smith and Perry drove to a gas station at the corner of Mcguffey and Albert Street and shot one of the men in the leg. 

That man then went, along with the five others, looking for Smith. That's when Hernandez was shot and killed by the men when she was home, instead of Smith.

Hernandez died after 45 shots were fired. Many of the bullets penetrating the walls of her apartment as she used her body to protect her two-year-old son Gabriel.

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