Jones gets plea deal

A plea agreement entered Tuesday on behalf of Mark Jones, one of five men charged in the February 2011 shooting on Indiana Avenue that killed Youngstown State University student Jamail Johnson, could allow Jones to leave prison by 2016.

According to the plea agreement, Jones pleaded to one count of involuntary manslaughter, carrying a sentence of 10 years and a fine of $20,000, and seven counts of felonious assault, carrying a total sentence of five years and fines of $150,000.

The county prosecutor’s office recommended that the sentences run concurrently, and that Jones be given credit for time served.

Jones’ attorney, Thomas Zena, said he expects that Jones will be released from prison five years from the date he was arrested in 2011.

Zena said prosecutors offered plea agreements on multiple occasions, but Zena rejected them.

“Nobody has ever accused [Mark Jones] of being a shooter,” Zena said. However, Zena said that after the August conviction of Columbus Jones to 92 years, “you have to start thinking about different dynamics.”

Johnson’s mother, Shirlene Hill, said she wasn’t told about the plea agreement until the day it was entered.

“It’s just common courtesy,” she said.

Hill said Jones’ sentence feels like a “slap in the face.”

“I am so angry that a man who passed a gun gets a plea. He can walk,” she said. “This boy passed a gun, [and] he gets five years? Is this really justice?”  

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