Published: Friday, November 17, 2006
Sheriff to meet with judges
Two men charged in a courtroom brawl were arraigned on assault charges.
By TIM YOVICH
WARREN Sheriff Thomas Altiere says he will meet with Trumbull County Common Pleas Court judges to discuss court security in the wake of a courtroom melee.
Altiere said he wants the meeting, but first he and his staff will critique a news film of two men attacking murder suspect Jason T. Howard on Wednesday. The episode occurred in the courtroom of Judge John M. Stuard.
Sulthan Honzu, 29, of Ogden Avenue, and Lewis West, 30, of Arthur Drive, were arraigned on assault charges Thursday before municipal Judge Terry Ivanchak.
They will return at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 11 for pretrial proceedings before Judge Ivanchak. They are free after each posted a $1,500 bond.
Howard, 24, of Liberty, was in Judge Stuard's courtroom awaiting a hearing on charges of murder and attempted murder stemming from shootings in Warren.
Howard is accused in the shooting death of Phillip Dally, 24, of Ohio Avenue, whose body was found in a vacant lot on Front Street on June 19. He also is charged with attempted murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping in the shooting of Mario Sowell, 30, of First Street, on June 18 and the wounding of Dontai Young, 26, of Lane Drive, on June 21.
Before the hearing got under way, Victoria West of Warren hit Howard in the head. She was put on the floor by a deputy sheriff.
Honzu and Lewis entered the courtroom. News video shows Howard being hit several times until more deputies arrived to arrest them.
West, however, was not charged.
Altiere has received a copy of WYTV Channel 33 video of the encounter. He said it will be critiqued today and then he wants to meet with the judges.
"Personally, I think it was handled appropriately," the sheriff said.
Altiere said there was only one deputy in Judge Stuard's courtroom because the hearing for Howard hadn't yet started and because of a disturbance involving a woman about the same time in the courtroom of Judge Andrew Logan.
The sheriff explained that three deputies are assigned to courthouse security, but other deputies are around because they escort prisoners from the county jail across High Street to the courthouse.
"We only have so many deputies. They can't be there all the time," Altiere said.
He noted that there are usually five deputies in a courtroom during high-profile cases, but that didn't occur because of the two outbursts in separate courtrooms.
"That takes a toll on everyone," he added.
Altiere said he hasn't received any complaints from the judges for more security.
Howard is charged in Franklin County with multiple murders.
He is accused of killing is ex-girlfriend, Jameila West, 27, of Columbus and formerly of Warren; her daughter, Jameire Erwin, 10; her son, Tre'vion Williams, 5; and West and Howard's 3-year-old son, Jakia Howard.
Victoria West, who apparently initiated the melee, is Jameila West's mother. Honzu is Victoria West's nephew; and Lewis West is Victoria West's son.
It was Jameila West's Warren family who found the bodies in Columbus on Jan. 8 when they went to check on her and her children.