YOUNGSTOWN Trial set for man accused in baby's death

Some jurors needed a couple days to take care of work issues before trial.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Jurors will begin hearing testimony Monday in the trial of a man accused of shooting into a house, killing a baby who was inside.
John Drummond Jr., 26, of Allerton Court, is charged with multiple counts of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and felonious assault, and one count of illegally firing a gun into a home.
If he is convicted of the aggravated murder charges, Drummond could face the death penalty.
Jury selection
The process of seating a jury for the case began Jan. 12 in the courtroom of Judge Maureen A. Cronin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Lawyers seated a panel of 12 jurors and four alternates Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Cronin said some of the jurors needed a little time to take care of conflicts at work to ensure that they will be available during the trial, which is expected to last about a week.
"I told all the jurors we would give them 48 hours notice before we start," the judge said. "That would have put us into Friday afternoon." That's why she decided to hold off until Monday morning.
Jurors will be taken as a group to view the crime scene, then will return to the courthouse for opening statements from lawyers and the beginning of testimony.
Prosecutors say Drummond fired several shots from an assault rifle into a house on Rutledge Drive, on the city's East Side, in March 2003. One of the shots struck 3-month-old Jiyen C. Dent Jr. in the head and killed him.
The boy was sitting in a baby swing in the family's living room at the time. His parents, Jiyen C. Dent Sr. and LaToya Butler, were also in the house but were not shot.
In December, defense attorneys James Gentile and Ronald Yarwood asked Judge Cronin to move the trial to another county. They said press coverage of the trial of co-defendant Wayne Gilliam had "saturated" the community and made it impossible to seat an impartial jury for Drummond.
Gilliam, 21, of Euclid Avenue, was found guilty last year of charges identical to Drummond's. Judge Cronin sentenced him in August 2003 to 54 years in prison. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty for Gilliam because he had cooperated with authorities in the investigation and because they believe Drummond was the shooter.
Gilliam, prosecutors say, drove Drummond to Rutledge Drive, waited in the car while Drummond got out and fired the shots, then drove him away.