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YOUNGSTOWN City man is convicted of murder

By Bob Jackson

Thursday, October 25, 2001

The same jury will reconvene on Monday to begin the penalty phase.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Anthony Anderson lost the fight to prove his innocence.
Now his lawyers will have to fight to save his life.
Anderson, 24, of Kenneth Street, was convicted Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court of three counts of aggravated murder and single counts of attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.
He showed no emotion as the verdicts were read by Judge R. Scott Krichbaum, sitting at the defense table with his chin resting on his left hand.
The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated nearly 12 hours Tuesday and Wednesday before returning the verdicts, which included death penalty specifications.
The same jury will convene again Monday for a second trial to determine whether Anderson receives the death sentence or life in prison.
Defense attorneys James Gentile and Louis DeFabio were not available to comment after the verdict. Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Franken declined to comment on the verdict since the sentencing phase is still pending.
Prosecutors said Anderson was one of two men who robbed a Lansdowne Boulevard home in November 1998. In the process, they shot and killed 21-year-old LaShawnda Aziz and her 4-year-old son, DeShun Moreland. Ms. Aziz was pregnant and her fetus also died as a result of her death.
Her daughter, Brea Aziz, was shot in the face and neck but survived. She testified against Anderson. The little girl, now 6, was 3 at the time.
As the verdicts were read, Ms. Aziz' mother, Jackie Joe, closed her eyes, wiped away tears and slowly nodded her head in agreement. Afterward, she glared at Anderson as he sat alone at the defense table.
Ms. Joe declined to comment until after Anderson is sentenced.
Also in the packed courtroom for the verdict was Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly of Youngstown Municipal Court. Before she was appointed to the bench, Judge Kobly was an assistant county prosecutor and helped handle the case against Kevin Calwise, who was convicted last year of charges identical to Anderson's.
Calwise is serving three consecutive life sentences.
"If I had any regrets at all about being appointed to the bench, it was that I could not be here to prosecute this case," Judge Kobly said. "I'm very pleased at the verdicts."
Calwise testified at his trial that Anderson shot all the victims, then forced Calwise at gunpoint to shoot the little boy. DeFabio and Gentile argued during Anderson's trial that he was not there. Anderson did not testify.