Youngstown – Angeline Fimognari, was a loved and cherished member of St Dominic’s Church, and especially as a mother and grandmother. She had attended morning mass as she always did, when a coward not deserving the title of animal, shot the 80 year old woman in the head and stole her purse. What in that purse was worth this poor woman’s life? Did she over-power her assailant?
Jamar “mook” Houser, of 2704 Volney Road in Youngstown, had his first court appearance on charges of Aggravated Murder and Aggravated Robbery in Youngstown Municipal Court, on Monday, February 1, 2010, where he appeared via closed circuit television.
This was not, by far, Housers first court appearance. His criminal record reaches back to when he was 14 years old. His criminal activity likely started much earlier.
Just 2 months before this senseless act, on November 25, 2009, a Stalking Civil Protection Order (CPO) was issued to a female to protect against Houser. The CPO was filed in Mahoning County Court Magistrate Dennis Sarisky and approved by Judge James Evans on January 22, 2010, the day before the murder.
Houser was arrested in September on charges of aggravated menacing and discharging a firearm at or into a habitation. He also assaulted a man person on the same day, according to the victim. He was bound over to Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas on the firearm charge, which is a felony, with a $500k bail. His bail was promptly reduced upon motion by Houser’s attorney, Michael Villani, to $20k with release upon presentation of 10% or $2k, with the approval of Assistant Prosecutor James McDonald and Judge Lou D’Apolito.
Yesterday, on WKBN 27 news, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains shifted the blame for Houser’s release on such a low bond to the Youngstown City Prosecutor’s office, stating “If the city officials felt that strongly, they could have sent a note saying why we have the high bond, and the file just doesn’t have that in it.”
Seriously. A note? How about the sheet with the charges and bail, the arrest report, and any other pertinent documents in the file? If the assistant prosecutor did not read the reports, he probably would not have read the note either. If he did read the report and documentation, he would then know the circumstances of the incident.
City Prosecutor Jay Macejko stated, “”If that bond ($500k) were still in place, he likely would still be incarcerated pending trial.” He also responded to the accusation from Gains, saying, “when someone comes over with a half-million dollar bond, and they’re relatively young, as Mr. Houser is, it should have been a ‘red flag’.”
The prosecutor’s office under Gains is known for plea bargain agreements and low bonds, which he stated in 1998 that these deals save the taxpayers’ money, due to the price of a trial and incarceration. As readers know, I applaud any attempt at saving tax payers’ money, but in this case, the cost of releasing these criminals on reduced charges and low bail far outweighs the monetary cost of court room proceedings.
To be fair, one of the duties of Gains, as head of office, is to keep costs low for the county, especially with the on again, off again 1/2% sales tax. Everyone knows that without the tax, the county commissioners will head straight to the Sheriff’s Department with axe in hand, causing under-staffing which eventually leads to same day release of those charged with non-violent crimes. This fear tactic, using MCSO as leverage, has historically led to the passing of the tax, preceding a failure.
Video from WKBN 27 news site.
Warren – In a related story, a Trumbull County man had a unique excuse as to why he could not serve on the jury for an upcoming criminal case. Potential juror #22 advised Judge Peter Kontos that he could not serve on the jury because he was prosecuting the case.
Juror 22 was Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker, and the case involved was assigned to him. The Judge excused him from duty.
City and County Prosecutors on the release of alleged church murderer Jamar Houser