Guilty finding for pair accused of ‘terrorizing Youngstown’

A bench trial came back with a verdict on Monday for two men accused of running a drug ring in Youngstown.

Prosecutors say Melvin Johnson and Vincent Moorer did so in a brash way, punishing anyone who didn’t like how they were operating.

Moorer was found guilty in the killing of Ryan Slade, while Johnson was found guilty of attempted murder and felonious assault. Moorer was also found guilty of a lesser crime in the killing of Kiera McCullough. Those killings took place in 2012.

Moorer and Johnson were found guilty of several other charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which is essentially the state’s version of the federal racketeering statutes.

“I’ve classified them as the worst of the worst, and so we wanted to get them locked away for as long as we could and we believe we’ve done that, so we’re very happy with the outcome,” Prosecutor Marty Desmond said.

Prosecutors believe the pair had some pretty deep tentacles into crime.

“These guys have been terrorizing Youngstown,” said Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Yacovone. “They’ve been selling drugs, bringing drugs in from Atlanta for a very long period of time, and on top of that, they’re killing people. They’re killing witnesses, threatening witnesses. They just need to go away for a very long time.”

The case was built with information from the Violent Crimes Task Force, Drug Task Force, and even the victims’ families.

“They were able to put together a case to take people off the street that you see in movies. They are the hit men that are killing people for payment. They are the drug dealers making a lot of money poisoning the streets,” said Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Brevetta.

The men will be sentenced next Monday afternoon, but prosecutors expect the convictions will put the pair in jail for a long time.

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