YOUNGSTOWN - The man accused of killing a boy as he slept had a hearing Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
As he has during most of his court appearances, 21-year-old Sean Wilson of Browning Street was in tears as he stood before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum; at one point the tears fell from his face and onto the floor.
Wilson could receive the death penalty if he is convicted of the death of 8-year-old Bryce Linebaugh, who was shot to death Aug. 20. His trial is set for Jan. 14.
Linebaugh was sleeping in his parents' East Side apartment building about 1 a.m. when Wilson sprayed the building with bullets, police report states. One of the bullets struck Linebaugh in the head. He died a short time later.
Police say Wilson had argued with a woman earlier in the evening and vowed to shoot her. She lives in a neighboring apartment.
Officers found an assault rifle they believe was used in the attack, reports state.
Wilson had been on probation for a previous weapons violation at the time of Linebaugh's death, according to court records.
On Thursday, Krichbaum heard and dealt with routine motions by defense attorneys in the case and deferred three of them because they dealt with the mitigation phase of the trial. He said he would decide those motions if Wilson is convicted of aggravated murder.
During the mitigation phase of a death penalty trial, defense attorneys present evidence to jurors as to why they should spare their client's life. There can only be a mitigation phase if Wilson is convicted of aggravated murder.
Jurors are also in the process of being summoned for the case. Court Administrator Robert Regula said about 350 summons will be sent out and they expect between 100 to 120 people to respond.
Prosecutors also hinted that during the trial they will play the 911 call that Linebaugh's mother made when she discovered her son had been shot.