Metro digest

Life sentence for rapist upheld by appeals court

YOUNGSTOWN — The 7th District Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld a life prison term with parole eligibility after 10 years for a Buckeye Circle man, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping a 7-year-old girl in his neighborhood in April 2008.

Shawn Thomas, 26, knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently entered his plea before being sentenced by Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, the three-judge appeals panel ruled.

There was no indication of deficiencies in defense lawyer Douglas Taylor’s representation of Thomas, the panel ruled last week.

Ohio high court rejects review of carjacking case

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court has declined to review the case of a man who was convicted by a jury of carjacking a church secretary at gunpoint and shooting at pursuing police from that stolen car.

In dismissing the appeal last week, the state’s top court said the matter does not involve any substantial constitutional question, and the high court left intact a 67-year prison sentence imposed on Jumal Edwards, 26, of Woodcrest Avenue.

A jury convicted Edwards of aggravated robbery, three counts of felonious assault and four counts of complicity to felonious assault with firearm specifications in the July 1, 2005, carjacking and rolling gunbattle with police on the city’s East Side.

Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court initially sentenced Edwards to 97 years in prison.

The 7th District Court of Appeals affirmed Edwards’ conviction, but it reduced his sentence to 67 years, saying the seven five-year gun specifications for firing from a motor vehicle had to merge into a single five-year prison term, rather than being served consecutively to one another.

Rally to save post offices

YOUNGSTOWN — A rally in support of keeping the East Side and South Side post offices open will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the main post office, 99 S. Walnut St., in downtown Youngstown. The event was postponed one week because organizers from the American Postal Workers Union Local 443, which represents postal clerks, said they needed more time to prepare for a large rally. The U.S. Postal Service has removed the West Side Post Office from the endangered list, but the East and South side branches remain on the list of post offices that may be closed in a money-saving effort.