YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man accused of the death of a 4-year-old Struthers boy who was on the run for more than two years will be held without bond for the time being.
Andre McCoy, 22, was arraigned before Judge Anthony D’Apolito Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on several charges, including a count of aggravated murder with a death penalty specification for the September 2020 shooting death of Rowan Sweeney and the wounding of four other people.
McCoy pleaded not guilty to 14 counts, including charges of attempted murder and aggravated robbery.
McCoy, who was indicted in March 2021, was not caught until U.S. Marshals arrested him early Saturday morning in a house on Park Hill Drive in Youngstown.
Assistant Prosecutor Mike Yacovone said he and defense attorney Walter Madison have agreed to defer bond for McCoy until a later date.
McCoy is one of three people charged in Sweeney’s death at the Perry Street home of his mother in Struthers. Police said the shooting happened during a robbery of the mother’s boyfriend.
Four other people were wounded in the same shooting.
Also facing the death penalty for Sweeney’s death if convicted is Kimonie Bryant, 25, He turned himself in hours after the shooting and has been in the county jail since then.
Indicted the same time as McCoy was Brandon Crump, 19. However, his aggravated murder charges have been sent back to juvenile court because of those charges were never heard by a juvenile court judge. He is not eligible for the death penalty because he was a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed.
McCoy was shot in the head during the robbery and at one time was thought to be close to death. Prosecutors have not said if he was shot on purpose or if it was an accident.
The case has taken a long time to make its way through the court docket because of litigation over DNA testing in the case at a private lab. Prosecutors said they needed the tests to be completed to determine who would be tried first in the case, while attorneys for Bryant wanted an expert to observe the testing in person, however, a lab that would allow that to take place could not be found.
After the tests were completed, a trial date of June 20 was set for Crump and Sept. 11 was set for Bryant.
However, Yacovone told the judge the order of which defendant being tried first could be changed now that McCoy is in custody.
A pretrial hearing for McCoy is expected to be held within two weeks.