WARREN - A former city man who has at least 75 more years to serve in prison on three major convictions, including one in Mahoning County and one in Trumbull County for killing a man in 1977 during an argument at a Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard bar is eligible for parole this month.
Orson Wells, now 59, formerly of Braceville, was sentenced to a total of 110 years to life in prison on the three cases. He was convicted of killing 20-year-old Ted Wade, a football player for Youngstown State University whom records said was attempting to be a peacemaker between Wells and Wade's friend, Mark A. Dukes.
Dukes, 18 at the time, was shot in the chest by Wells and survived.
Wells was awaiting sentencing on felonious assault and robbery charges stemming from a 1974 incident in Mahoning County.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, the lead prosecutor in the Trumbull County case at the time, is opposing Wells' potential release.
"Without a doubt, Orson Wells is no actor, he is the real McCoy, a true violent career criminal," Watkins wrote in his letter of opposition to the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.
Wells was convicted of murder and attempted murder for the March 16, 1977, shootings. He shot both men at close range. Dukes' ribs were shattered and his lung collapsed as a result of the gunshot wound directly above his heart, reports said.
Officers went to the Ebony Lounge bar and found Wade dead lying near the pool table and Dukes in a booth.
Witnesses told police at the time they knew Wells to be a "trouble maker." One witness at the time said when he saw Wells enter the bar with a woman, he and his girlfriend decided to leave, but returned after they heard gunshots.
Reports said Wells walked in the bar and argued with Dukes. The woman then led Wells into the men's restroom, witnesses said, and when he emerged Wells and Dukes continued to argue. Witnesses said Dukes threatened to kill Wells.
Wells then charged Dukes, witnesses said, and Wade tried to step in and settle things down. Wells turned to leave then turned around and shot Dukes then Wade.
Wells then fled south on MLK Boulevard.
Dukes told police who interviewed him at St. Joseph Hospital that the argument started because he asked Wells about a shooting on Niles Road.
Wells had previously pleaded guilty to felonious assault and robbery stemming from the Mahoning County incident. He was sentenced to four to 15 years in prison to run concurrently with any sentence imposed with the Trumbull County case, records said.
In October 1994, while Wells and 14 other inmates were incarcerated at the maximum-security prison in Lucasville they incited a 11-day riot in which a prison guard and nine other inmates died.
Wells was convicted of six counts of kidnapping against guard Harold Fraley and, with the help of another inmate, guard Darrold Clark.
Wells, in that case, was sentenced to 15 to 25 years in prison to run consecutive to the Trumbull and Mahoning cases.