The plea deal for one of three defendants in the murder of four-year-old Rowan Sweeney still stands following a court hearing Tuesday where a judge denied the prosecution's request to take the deal off the table.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kimonie Bryant was supposed to be sentenced for his role in the murder of Rowan Sweeney back in April, but that was put on hold after a motion was filed accusing Bryant of lying to prosecutors during his plea deal.

Bryant is one of three men convicted for their role in the September 21, 2020, home invasion in Struthers that resulted in the shooting death of Sweeney.

A motion filed by attorney John Juhasz asserts that the case was rushed despite early evidence showing that Bryant was not the shooter by referencing an interaction between victim Yarnell Green and two Struthers police captains.  Both police officers have been subpoenaed to appear at Tuesday's court hearing.

According to the motion, Green showed pictures and video of the shooter stating that it was not Bryant and that this person had posted videos on social media bragging about various things including that he "had five bodies."

The person in that video turned out to be Brandon Crump, who had since been found guilty of being the triggerman in the murder.

"The State did not have to move so quickly to indict Bryant capitally, but it did. It knew before the indictment that there was evidence that Bryant was not the shooter, but the DNA results drive the point home. Crump was the shooter," Juhasz said.

Regarding Bryant's alleged lies during his plea deal, Juhasz says Bryant was truthful about everything except that some of the money taken was left at a home on Cassius Street or that he thought his girlfriend took it.

"Ask any prosecutor of any measurable trial experience involving testifying defendants and they will all say that cooperating witnesses lie about something. It is part of the landscape, part of the fabric of a criminal case," Juhasz said.

Juhasz claims that had Bryant testified in this case, his testimony would have "undercut" the state's witnesses.

Kimonie Bryant


Juhasz claims witness and co-defendant Andre McCoy, who did testify during Crump's trial, asked Bryant if he wanted to make money on a robbery and informed him about Yarnell Green flashing pandemic relief money he had received.

Juhasz alleges that the phone calls made between Bryant and McCoy on the night of the murder were to give him the address rather than plan the robbery.

"McCoy apparently 'forgot' that he had two telephone calls with Bryant. He also apparently 'forgot' that he had planned the robbery much earlier in the day with Bryant. McCoy just did not know the address," Juhasz said.

Juhasz went on to allege that McCoy lied when he testified that he called off the robbery. 

"Despite telling [Cassandra Marsicola] he wasn't going to take the money, McCoy let Bryant know that there were no weapons in the house. Two minutes later, McCoy confirms for Bryant which house and how to enter the house," Juhasz said.

"The State chose not to use Bryant, not because he lied to protect his girlfriend, but because his truthful testimony would have contradicted McCoy's testimony," Juhasz continued.

Bryant is scheduled to be sentenced the afternoon of July 10 at 2:00.

McCoy is scheduled to be sentenced in the morning on July 10 at 9:30 and Crump is set to be sentenced on July 29.