Jury selection halted twice in 2010 murder case

By Joe Gorman



Jury selection was halted twice Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in a 2010 murder case.

Frankie Hudson, 23, was to go on trial for the Dec. 14, 2010, death of Christopher Weston, 44, who was shot and killed during a robbery at an Overland Avenue market.

Hudson was not indicted until 2013 for Weston’s death.

Jury selection was delayed in the morning because of a dispute over witnesses.

Thursday, defense attorneys added new witnesses, which raised concern on the part of prosecutors.

Last week, Hudson’s attorney, Dave Betras, asked the 7th District Court of Appeals to have the case transferred to juvenile court because Hudson was a juvenile when Weston was killed. The appeals court denied his request. The trial was slated to begin Monday, but was delayed until Thursday because of the motion Betras filed in appeals court.

Judge Sweeney offered both sides a deal: She said they could begin picking the jury Thursday and start the trial Monday, which would give prosecutors time to investigate statements by those witnesses; or they could start in mid-September with a visiting judge.

After a couple of hours of negotiations, the attorneys agreed to start the jury selection Thursday afternoon.

In the afternoon, Betras asked for a handwriting expert to analyze an affidavit that Hudson had that could help his case, said assistant Prosecutor Martin Desmond.

The judge agreed to a continuance so the expert could examine the affidavit.

Besides the murder charge, Hudson also was indicted in July on charges he conspired to have a witness in the case killed. Prosecutors have not commented on that charge.

Weston, who was a Navy veteran of the Persian Gulf War, was found dead behind the counter by a customer who went in to buy groceries. He had been working in the store for a friend who was too sick to come in that day.

Weston left behind two sons, age 8 and 12, at the time. Weston’s wife and the mother of the boys had died in March 2010 of a heart ailment.