Mahoning County Prosecutor fights parole of convicted killers, violent criminals
Mahoning County Prosecutor, Gina DeGenova is letting Ohio parole officials that she believes that three convicted murderers and two violent offenders should not be released from prison.
DeGenova has written a letter expressing opposition when the state considers parole for the five inmates sentenced for crimes in Mahoning County.
Rosalie Grant made news headlines in the 1980's when she was accused of killing her own children.
Grant was convicted on two counts of aggravated murder and one count of aggravates arson in 1983.
Each aggravated murder charge contained two death penalty specifications with one alleging a course of conduct involving the purposeful killing of two or more people, and another alleging murder during an aggravated arson.
Grant's two sons died in a house fire in their home that was intentionally set by the use of lighter fluid spread on the floor and in the cold air return of the boys' bedrooms.
Several weeks prior to the fire, Grant secured life insurance policies on her sons, but not on her daughter who was staying with her grandmother at the time, meaning the only children who died had life insurance policies secured.
Grant was originally supposed to receive the death penalty, but in 1991, this was changed to life in prison with parole eligibility.
DeGenova says the unique factors of Grant's offenses outweigh her rehabilitative efforts and that her release would "not further the interest of justice nor be consistent with the welfare or security of society."
In 2000, Tommy Williams, was sentenced to 15 years to life for murder and three years for a firearm specification for an incident at a bar on East Midlothian Boulevard resulting in the shooting death of Michael Booker.
DeGenova says Williams has been incarcerated for over 20 years, but has only completed two rehabilitation programs and has committed multiple infractions such as tampering with the lock on his cell door.
"Williams' prison record does not demonstrate that he is rehabilitated nor that he is a different man than the man who shot and murdered Michael Booker," DeGenova said in a media release.
It was 1990 that Paul Dickerson was convicted of murder with firearm specifications as well as unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance.
The charges stem from an argument involving Dickerson, Gerald Bankhead and Jerome Tellington inside a local restaurant.
After the argument, Bankhead got a sawed-off shotgun and returned to the restaurant where Dickerson shot Tellington with the weapon.
DeGenova says Dickerson is still a danger to society and that his history in the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections provides no reassurance that he will follow laws if released and no reassurance that he won't hurt or kill anyone else.
The prosecutor says Dickerson has been cited for 35 infractions while incarcerated including four citations for misbehavior just last year including physical altercations with inmates and staff.
DeGenova also opposes parole for Leslie Hickson who was convicted of several violent felonies in two separate cases.
In 1991, he pled guilty to aggravated burglary and robbery after stealing cash from the Youngstown Woman's Christian Association and fighting with a maintenance worker in the building.
That same year, he pled guilty to two counts of rape, one count of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated robbery when he raped and burglarized an elderly woman in a nursing home.
He was released on parole that same year and has since been convicted of even more crimes including burglary, breaking and entering, receiving stolen property and forgery.
DeGenova says that Hickson continues to be a danger to society and that since his return to custody in 2008, he's had ongoing disciplinary problems, logging 45 infractions between 2008 and 2019.
The prosecutor says Derry Johnson was convicted of several violent felonies in many different cases. Convictions include Aggravated Burglary, Robbery, Felonious Assault and Having Weapons While Under Disability.
DeGenova says Johnson is a repeat offender and that she has reason to believe that she will continue to engage in further criminal behavior if released, stating that she's had an ongoing disciplinary problem since her re-incarceration in 2008, citing 25 rule infractions with 19 occurring within the past 10 years.
The Ohio Parole Board will decide on parole for all five during various hearings throughout March and April.