Parole granted for man convicted of kidnapping, murder in Youngstown
Ohio parole officials have overwhelmingly voted to release a prison inmate sentenced to fifteen years to life in prison for his part in the robbery, beating, torture, sexual assault, and murder of a man in Mahoning County.
According to the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office, the parole board has voted 9-to-1 to release 61-year-old Floyd Davis after serving more than 42-years of his sentence for convictions on charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping, robbery, and theft.
Davis was seventeen years old on June 16, 1977, when he and co-defendants Clyde Neely Jr. and James Brown were driving around Youngstown with a gun looking for something to do.
After assaulting and robbing another man on the street at gunpoint, prosecutors say the three found Joseph DeLisio sleeping in his car.
The trio forced their way into DeLisio's car, put a gun to his head, and drove him to another location where they beat DeLisio with their fists and the gun.
They took DeLisio's money and put him in the trunk of the car and drove to Stambaugh Field, forcing DeLisio to walk to the baseball field.
One of the attackers urinated on DeLisio, removing his shirt, shoes, before choking him with the shirt and belt.
Then they choked DeLisio and took turns stabbing him in the heart and throat with a pocketknife.
The Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office had urged the Ohio Parole Board today to deny parole for Davis, calling him a danger to the community.
One Joseph DeLisio's descendants also spoke at the hearing, urging the Ohio Parole Board today to deny parole for Davis.
"They apparently disagreed with us and felt that he was ready to come back into society," said Jennifer McLaughlin, Chief of the Criminal Division with the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office.
The prosecutors office told 21 News Davis has been eligible for parole since 1992 and several factors contributed to the board's decision.
"The time he had been in the institution, the programming that he had completed while he was within the prison, his history of any disciplinary write-ups when he was there, his age," McLaughlin listed.
McLaughlin added the lack of paperwork made it difficult for the state to oppose the board's decision.
"It made it difficult because we didn't have transcripts from the co-defendants trials which would have given us some more facts and we didn't have police reports that were left," McLaughlin said. "We would have been able to argue a little more in detail about what Floyd Davis' role actually was."
"I would have liked to have told the board for example, if he choked him, stabbed him or beat him," McLaughlin said. "We know in total the offenders did that, but what exactly Davis did in terms of what blows he inflicted or what injuries he inflicted, we weren't able to give those details to the board. They did ask, they wanted this information."
McLaughlin told 21 News record keeping in the 1970s was different than what it is now. "It's definitely not uncommon in my experience for us to see cases that are that old that there's little or nothing less for us to rely upon. If this individual had been prosecuted in the 2000s, we would still have our complete file on microfilm, the pictures of the victim, the reports and trial transcripts. We weren't able to put together a case like that against Floyd Davis because of the age," McLaughlin told 21 News.
Matt Mangino has experience on Pennsylvania's Parole Board. He told 21 News Davis being convicted as a minor helped his case. "They're going to be actuarial, they're going to be risk assessments," Mangino explained. "So there have been a lot of changes to the law since this sentence has been imposed back in 1978," agreeing with McLaughlin.
Davis has been in prison 15 years beyond his minimum sentence, which Mangino says most likely helped his parole case. Mangino said it is not uncommon for the parole court to go against what the prosecutor, judge and district attorney recommends.
Mangino also mentioned factors the board can consider which includes what type of programming and treatment an individual had while imprisoned, their kind of behavior in prison, whether they take responsibility of the crime, what type of home plan the individual has and how they expect to succeed back in the community.
Davis is expected to be released in October where he will join a halfway house.
Neely and Brown, who are also serving 15-year-to-life terms, are eligible for parole in 2025.