YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The cousin of a woman shot to death in 2021 testified Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that she started running just before the fatal shots were fired.
Katelyn Lofaro, the cousin of 25-year-old Ashley Lockhart, told jurors before Judge Anthony D’Apolito in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that she saw the man accused of killing Lockhart, Steve Green, 26, flash a gun just before the shots were fired.
She ran but turned around after she heard a shot and saw Lockhart on the ground and Green standing over her, Lofaro testified.
Green is charged with aggravated murder and murder for the Oct. 8, 2021, shooting death of Lockhart in a parking lot at the Compass West apartment complex in Austintown. Opening statements were held Monday afternoon after a jury was seated.
Tuesday, jurors heard a 911 tape of a call Lockhart was making to Austintown police about 10:40 p.m. Oct. 8, 2021, saying that she was having a dispute with Green, the father of her child, in a parking lot at the Compass West apartment complex.
Lockhart’s voice is calm at first but then she says, “Please leave me alone,” and then she begins screaming. Shots can be heard and then even more screaming coming from Lofaro.
“NO! NO!” she can be heard saying, followed by more screaming then a question, “Is she still alive?”
Some of Lockhart’s family members had to leave the courtroom as the tape was playing.
Police said Green shot Lockhart because of a custody dispute over their daughter. Lofaro testified that Green had threatened her in the weeks up to her death, that he always carried a gun and earlier in the day before she was killed, he also threatened her with a gun.
“He just always scared me,” Lofaro testified at one point. “He always had a gun on him.”
On the day she was killed, Lockhart and Lofaro made plans to meet at Lofaro’s apartment in Compass West. As they went outside, however, Green was there and his car was blocking Lockhart’s car from moving, Lafaro testified.
Green moved his car at one point for someone else to get out then returned and blocked Lockhart’s car again, Lofaro testified.
Lockhart then called 911 and is standing outside her car and Green is in his car, Lofaro testified. Green got out of his car and showed a gun and that is when Lofaro said she turned around. On the 911 recording, someone can be heard saying, “Don’t do it!”
Lofaro also was questioned about a phone call Lockhart recorded of Green threatening her, but defense attorney Mark Lavelle said during cross examination that Lockhart was also speaking the same way to Green, with both of them talking of killing each other.
Lavelle also asked Lofaro if she was so worried, why didn’t she call the police. Lofaro said calling the police was futile because she said they never did anything.
“Have you seen our justice system?” she said. “It wouldn’t have done anything.”