Youngstown attorney issues complaint, asks for dismissal of murder case
Back in 2018, Joshua Donatelli was murdered, a crime for which Levontae Knight and George Gutierres were charged.
Knight's attorney, Dave Betras, has long claimed there is no evidence tying Knight to the crime. But now he says, it's even worse for his client.
Betras says the one key witness to the crime could not identifiy Knight as the shooter in a police line-up shortly after the murder in 2019.
But Betras says that key piece of information was kept secret by Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa, an act which Betras says constitutes "prosecutorial misconduct" and should result in the entire case being dismissed.
Betras filed a motion in Judge John Durkin's court asking for just that, and also goes on to ask that if the case does go forward, that Cantalamessa be removed as prosecutor.
Betras claims that for two years, Cantalamessa only disclosed that the key witness recognized Knight from seeing him on the news after he was charged in another unrelated murder, six months after the Donatelli murder.
By never disclosing the witness' inability to recognize Knight in a lineup, Betras says Cantalamessa violated her duty to report any evidence that may be favorable to the defendant.
Betras also claims that Cantalamessa has demonstrated a bias against Knight by offering a generous plea deal to Gutierres, but never reporting that to either Betras or Knight.
That's important, Betras says, because he says he would have to make the alleged bias a part of the trial if the case is not dismissed, and that to do so, he'd need to call Cantalamessa to the stand.
Cantalamessa declined to comment but says she will be filing a response.