Court proceedings delayed in triple homicide trial due to COVID-19 complications

Local News

Shaiquon Sharpe, Taquashon Ray

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The trial set to begin today for two men accused of a 2018 triple murder –where one of the victims was an infant — was continued because one of the prosecutors has COVID-19.

A new trial date was set for January 24 by Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for Taquashon Ray and Shainquon Sharpe, both 25, on three counts of aggravated murder.

A final pretrial date will also be held January 19. A motion hearing will also be held December 6 on photographs of the victims that prosecutors want to show to jurors and the coroners report in the case.

The two are accused of the November 7, 2018 murder of Edward Morris, 21; Valarica Blair, 19; and the couple’s 3-month-old son, Tariq Morris.

They were shot and killed in a car at Pasadena and Gibson avenues.

Police believe Edward Morris was the target and the other two victims just happened to be there.

The pair were arrested almost a year after the murders. Police have not commented on a motive.

Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews asked for the continuance on the day jury selection was to begin, saying his assistant learned he had the virus and will be laid up for several days.

Andrews added that most of the people involved in the case have been vaccinated but there are still guidelines on how vaccinated people should take precautions around people who contract the virus.

Defense attorney Lou DeFabio said he was not opposed to the continuance, especially since health guidelines how people who are in close contact with someone who has the virus should be tested or watch for symptoms.

Defense attorney Mark LaVelle also did not object.

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