NILES, Ohio (WYTV)) – A Niles teenager appeared in juvenile court Friday for his preliminary hearing after being charged with aggravated murder in connection with the beating death of a 94-year-old woman.
Friday morning, court officials charged Jacob Larosa, 15, with aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and attempted rape in addition to his aggravated murder charge. Court documents unsealed this week shed a lot more light on the case, including what led police to Larosa right away.
Those documents show officers and paramedics were first called to the boy’s home on Lafayette Avenue the evening of March 31. They found him with blood on his hands and underwear and he was throwing up in a bathroom.
A few minutes later, police were sent around the block to Cherry Street, where they found 94-year-old Marie Belcastro dead. Officers observed blood spatter throughout the home, as well as bloody footprints, the documents state.
At the hospital, police said Larosa initially denied being in the victim’s house, but later changed his story, claiming he went in a side door and that Belcastro gave him $10, the report states. As police canvassed the area, one neighbor showed them surveillance video they said shows Larosa at that side door, which had been forced open and broken.Police then obtained search warrants to seize Larosa’s clothing, as well as DNA samples. He remains in the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center and his next court hearing is April 30.
On Friday morning, prosecutors filed papers to eventually have the teenager tried as an adult.
Trumbull County Family Court Judge Sandra Harwood explained the charges to the boy and his parents, as well as the potential sentences he could face if he is eventually convicted. His parents wiped away tears as the judge spoke.
“We have not received any evidence or anything of that nature, other than what we have gathered ourselves. Therefore, we can’t make any comment on the case at this point. There are several steps left to go in the juvenile court to determine what is going to happen from there,” Larosa’s attorney, Bob Koker, said.
Belcastro was well-liked by her neighbors and knew Larosa prior to the incident. Neighbors said she paid him to mow her lawn and rake leaves. Larosa’s sister said he had been released from the Juvenile Justice Center earlier in the day that Belcastro was killed.