Family of elderly murder victim from Niles opposes candidacy of Sen. Matt Dolan

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The family of Marie Belcastro, who was brutally murdered at 94 years old by a teenager six years ago, is speaking out against a Senate candidate who co-sponsored legislation at the state level that would allow her killer to appear in front of a parole board in 2040.

“He’s my parents’ state senator, they voted for him. They won’t be doing that again,” said Brian Kirk, Belcastro’s grandson.

Kirk says his family feels betrayed by state Senator Matt Dolan who just this week announced he’d be running to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate in the Republican primary this May.

“He was a co-sponsor of SB 256, which has a major impact for my family,” Kirk said.

Belcastro was brutally murdered in her Niles home back in March 2015.

“She wasn’t just some number, some random statistic. She was a dynamic, wonderful human being,” Kirk said.

Because of Senate Bill 256, which went into effect in April, Belcastro’s admitted killer, Jacob LaRosa, who was sentenced to life behind bars, is now eligible for parole in 2040 after serving just 25 years, since, at the time of Belcastro’s murder, he was 15 years old.

“To cave on something so basic as putting someone in prison for life who thoroughly deserves to be there, to me, that is a betrayal. I don’t think Matt Dolan’s judgment is where the people of Ohio’s judgment would be,” Kirk said.

Dolan’s campaign spokesman, Chris Pack, says the bill passed with strong support from Republicans because it made the state standards in line with the Constitution and a precedent set by the Supreme Court.

“Senate Bill 256 passed with strong conservative Republican support because it brought Ohio’s criminal justice standards in line with the U.S. Constitution and precedent from the Supreme Court, which deems mandatory sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders to be unconstitutional. As a former Assistant State Attorney General and county prosecutor, Matt Dolan has a proven track record of working to build safer communities by making sure that convicted criminals like Jacob LaRosa never see the outside of a prison cell.”

Dolan for Ohio Spokesman Chris Pack

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