Michael Wilkins takes a plea in murder of Maurise Kerns


The last of three men accused of an April 2014 murder who was to have a bench trial today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court instead is pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

Michael Wilkins, 24, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter with a firearm specification for the April 1, 2014 murder of Maurise Kerns, 24.

Kerns was killed after he was lured to a vacant home in the 500 block of Idora Avenue.

Judge Maureen Sweeney accepted the plea. Wilkins was originally charged with aggravated murder.

In May, brothers Bralin and Breandre Allen pleaded guilty to the same charges for their role in the death of Kerns.

Investigators said Kerns was killed in retaliation for a shooting a few weeks before his death in which one of the Allens was wounded.

Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 14 years.

Sentencing will be after a presentence investigation.