Trial for accused killer of woman found in Campbell freezer pushed back again

Local News

A man charged with murdering a Youngstown woman whose body was found in a freezer is not happy sitting in jail. His trial has been delayed until the fall because someone other than one of Mahoning County’s prosecutors is going to be handling the case from now on.

Accused killer Arturo Novoa told a judge Thursday morning that he’s tired of waiting for trial.

“I have been in the county for almost a year now,” he said. “And that’s exactly why I filed for an evidential hearing.”

Novoa is charged in the death of Shannon Graves last summer. Her dismembered body was found stuffed inside a freezer at a Campbell home.

His girlfriend, Katrina Layton, has already pleaded guilty in the case.

On Thursday, Novoa learned he’ll have to wait even longer.

“It’s my understanding both parties, at this time, are going to be addressing the court with regard to a continuance,” Atty. Jennifer McLaughlin said.

In a relatively unusual move, county prosecutors indicated that a lawyer with the Ohio Attorney General’s staff is taking over the case in midstream.

“Due to the recent grievance that was filed against us by the family of the victim in this case,” McLaughlin said.

In recent months, Graves’ father and sister have complained publicly about the way local prosecutors were handling the case and the lack of information they were being given about it. That led to a formal grievance being filed with the Bar Association.

Now, Atty. Dan Kasaris, who recently won a conviction against former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante on corruption charges, will take over.

“I’m a little excited that we’re sort of starting over, in a sense,” said Debbie DePaul, Graves’ sister. “We have new eyes looking at the case. Hopefully, we get a little bit further.”

The change means another delay in the trial, pushing it from August to October. It had originally been scheduled for last spring.

“Your Honor, I did get set back four-and-a-half months and nothing got accomplished within those four-and-a-half months,” Novoa said.

The victim’s father doesn’t seem to mind.

“He probably wants his trial over with so he can get out of the county jail. I’m satisfied he’s sitting in the county jail,” Ronnie DePaul said.

Trial is now set for October 22. Novoa faces life in prison if convicted.

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