Creech found guilty

STEUBENVILLE – A Jefferson County jury found 24-year-old Stedmund Creech guilty of three charges of having a weapon under a disability Thursday.

The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before giving the guilty verdicts following a one-day trial in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.

Creech is scheduled to return to court Tuesday for sentencing by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson.

The charges stem from a July 2, 2012, incident in the Pleasant Heights neighborhood, described by Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin as, “essentially a gun battle between two convicted felons.”

“I am very pleased with the guilty verdict and I commend Stephanie Luke for testifying at the trial. She was in front of her house with her great grandson and saw all of the events leading to people shooting in a residential neighborhood,” said Hanlin.

“She is a great example of how residents who share information with the police can get dangerous people off the streets,” Hanlin added.

The shooting created a wave of anger in the neighborhood that was expressed at a July 17, 2012, City Council meeting.

“We are a group of neighbors who live on the hilltop who have a lot of pride in our neighborhood. But our pride has been shot down. We are very upset, bitter and tired of the crime and violence in our community. We are here to ask what we can do to help take back our neighborhood,” stated Susan Haney.

“That shooting happened between 3:30 and 4 in the afternoon. I have a 10-year-old and a 5-year- old who were outside playing. The fact that shooting happened in the middle of the afternoon is appalling. We are no longer afraid. We are mad. And we want our neighborhood back,” said Amy Mihalyo.

“My house had a bullet in the sun room where my niece and nephew like to play. We never had a problem in Lawson Estates before. I want to know what we can do to prevent this from happening in our city and our community,” Rikki Kamarados told council members.

The shooting incident also sparked a political campaign by Mike Johnson who later said he was asked to run for the 2nd Ward council seat in 2013 after he spoke to the council at the July 17 meeting

“You need to develop a comprehensive plan. East Lansing, Mich., has legislation that limits the number of rental properties in each area of their city,” Johnson said at the regular council meeting.

Johnson also would ask the council to consider enforcement of a teen curfew and tougher local gun laws.

During the trial Thursday Hanlin called five witnesses for the prosecution, and defense attorney Aaron Miller called one witness to the stand.

Creech was indicted by the county grand jury on separate criminal charges in three consecutive months last year.

He also was indicted by a county grand jury this year for his alleged involvement in a May 16 home invasion in Mingo Junction.

Hanlin said Creech is facing a potential 36-month prison term for the Pleasant Heights shooting incident.

Creech was sentenced to a 30-month prison term in August by Henderson after Creech pleaded guilty to an escape charge.

Creech was indicted for failing to report to his parole officer and jumping bail in a pending drug trafficking case.

He now faces two trials on other pending cases.