Failed second chance lands man in jail

Staff report


In April, Judge Maureen A. Sweeney gave Joseph Zaku a chance to prove he’s turned his life around, but his failure to do so landed him in prison for three years.

Zaku, 20, of Argyle Avenue, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary related to a March 2017 incident in which he reportedly pulled a gun on an autistic male and made him remove everything from his pockets.

Judge Sweeney sentenced him to five years’ probation with six months of weekends spent in the Mahoning County jail, so he could keep his job.

Zaku failed to report to the jail on three consecutive weekends and tested positive for marijuana Aug. 16.

“I think he got a big break,” said assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews.

Andrews had asked for two years in prison, which is the minimum jail sentence for a second-degree felony.

Atty. Rhys Cartwright, who represented Zaku, said his client fell into despondency and depression and attempted to self-medicate with marijuana. He suggested a six-month term with the Community Corrections Association, so Zaku could obtain treatment, which Judge Sweeney denied.