By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
Six men, two of them from Ashtabula, have been charged with the 1997 murder of an Ashtabula man, according to the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office.
Four of the six were picked up on warrants Tuesday morning, said Detective Lt. Terry A. Moisio. One man is in prison while the sixth is being sought, Moisio said. Warrants have been issued charging the six with aggravated murder, kidnapping and felonious assault, according to a statement.
Arrested Tuesday morning were George L. Church and Stephen Boles, both of Ashtabula; and Troy Jones and Eric Weaver, both of Youngstown. They are in custody at Ashtabula County Jail and will be arraigned in Common Pleas Court, deputies said.
Still being sought is Jawann M. Evans, believed to be an Ashtabula-area resident. People with information regarding Evans’ whereabouts are asked to call the sheriff’s office (576-0055) or the U.S. Marshal’s tip line (1-866-4 Wanted). A reward is being offered for information that results in Evans’ arrest.
The sixth man, John E. Drummond Jr., 35, has been incarcerated at Chillicothe Correctional Institution since 2004 awaiting execution for murder, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website.
The warrants come nearly 16 years to the day when Ronald “Maceo” Hull, 23, was found dead outside an apartment on West 38th Street by Ashtabula police officers. Hull, assaulted and shot four times, was discovered early on the morning of Feb. 9, 1997, according to news accounts at the time.
“Illegal narcotics transactions and money” is one motive for the murder, Moisio said in a statement. “This investigation has been on-going over the past several years and has not been forgotten by authorities,” Moisio said.
Dogged pursuit of the case by two sheriff’s office detectives, Taylor Cleveland and Sean Ward, resulted in the arrest, according to the statement. The deputies, both former Ashtabula police officers, “have worked diligently on this case over the years and deserve special recognition for their efforts in the resolution of this crime,” Moisio said in the statement.
The sheriff’s office worked in tandem with the Ohio attorney general’s office, which made the murder part of its Cold Case Initiative, Moisio said. The state provided special legal assistance to the investigation, he said.
Warrants were served by sheriff’s detectives, members of the U.S. Marshals Service’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force and Ashtabula Police Department, Moisio said.
“There is no statute of limitations on murder,” he said. “I’m very happy the case has come to this conclusion.”