YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Opening statements are underway in the trial of a Campbell man accused of murder early last year on the South Side.
Stevie Ballard, 23, is on trial before Judge Anthony Donofrio for aggravated murder and other charges in the Jan. 22, 2022, shooting death of Darrell Jackson, 20, of Youngstown. Jackson was found shot to death just after 1:20 p.m. in a car at Market Street and East Philadelphia Avenue.
In his opening statement, Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews told jurors within a half hour of Jackson being found, his father told police it was Ballard who killed his son.
Police got a tip three days later that the shooting broke out a few blocks away from where Jackson was found. Police checked security and saw a car driven by Ballard shoot at the car that Jackson was killed in.
Andrews told jurors they do not know if Ballard drove the car used in the shooting or if he was the actual shooter, but he added Ballard is still guilty under the state’s complicity law.
Detectives found out that the suspect car belonged to Ballard’s girlfriend and it was pulled over a few days later by Liberty police, Andrews said. A search warrant was obtained and evidence linking Ballard to the car was found, as well as gunshot residue.
Ballard had also been threatening to kill Jackson, Andrews said.
“Every time they investigated, the defendant’s name kept coming up,” Andrews said.
Defense attorney Mark Lavelle said in his opening statement that he conceded the fact that Ballard was seen on video at a Market Street store just a few hours before Jackson was killed in the same car used in the shooting.
But he added that Ballard grew up with Jackson and “literally tried to protect him from the streets of Youngstown.”
“We don’t know what happened that afternoon and even the prosecutor conceded that earlier,” Andrews said. “This is a scattered effort.”
Ballard was not indicted until December for Jackson’s death. He had been in the jail for several months by then on weapons charges in an unrelated case.
Police have not commented on a motive for Jackson’s death.