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Bar shooter gets 8 years prison

LISBON — A Pittsburgh man who exchanged gunfire outside My Bar in Wellsville nearly four years ago was sentenced to eight years in prison after he was found guilty of felonious assault by a Columbiana County Common Pleas Court jury on Wednesday.

Jerrell R. Jeter, 35, was sentenced to five years in prison for the assault charge after jurors were able to see video surveillance which showed Jeter jumping a fence and running along the sidewalk to fire two shots down the street on Nov. 11, 2016. He received an additional three-year sentence for a firearms specification, a mandatory sentence due to a firearm being used in the commission of the felonious assault.

According to Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart, Jeter, who also goes by the name Baby J, is believed to have been shooting at Dion McMillon and Curtis Holland, two of the men with whom he was involved in an altercation with on a patio area of My Bar outside the smoker’s lounge that night. The altercation also was caught on surveillance.

Then the other men left heading toward the front door of the establishment and Jeter, who was left on the patio alone, appears to jump the fence with the gun in his hand, run to the corner, take a shooter’s stance and fire two shots up Main Street past the front of the building.

The video then shows him running back toward the fence, jumping it again and someone running down the sidewalk to fire back at Jeter, who lies wounded in the doorway between the patio and the smoker’s lounge.

Weikart said Jeter was taken to a hospital in a vehicle which had been parked along the street where Jeter’s shots traveled. During the investigation BCI later pulled a bullet fragment from the same vehicle. Wellsville investigators found Jeter after contacting the hospitals looking for someone with gunshot wounds.

In defending Jeter, defense attorney James Wise had brought up the fact that Jeter was a shooting victim. No one has been charged with shooting Jeter, but Weikart said the statute of limitations has not ran out yet.

Making it difficult to investigate the case, there was little cooperation at the bar following the shooting, according to Weikart. Police found any blood at the scene had already been cleaned up and only the names of those involved were mentioned without further details. However, the three men had been involved in other reported altercations in both Wellsville and East Liverpool around the same time.

Jeter also refused to cooperate with the investigation after he was located at the hospital, lying to investigators, according to Weikart.

The first criminal trial in Common Pleas Court since the courthouse reopened after COVID-19, there were several things done to protect the jurors while allowing them to fairly judge the case. Instead of the gallery seating in the courtroom, the wooden benches were removed and jurors were given an opportunity to sit in chairs in that area six feet apart instead of in the jury box. Jurors were given a chance to come look at exhibits one at a time, instead of passing them around. Video boards and other technology were part of the trial.

Weikart said he always appreciates jurors, but in this case he really appreciated the attention they were able to give the case without being distracted by all everything being done differently to keep them safe.

Jeter’s eight-year sentence is to run consecutively with four years he is currently serving in two drug-related cases from Columbiana County. One of those cases involved Jeter having 17 baggies containing about 10.5 grams of cocaine he instructed a woman riding in his vehicle to hide during a traffic stop on state Route 7 in Wellsville on March 16, 2016. He was also found to have $2,360 during that stop, which was believed to have been derived from drug activity.

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