YOUNGSTOWN - Days before the expected arraignment of a suspect in a 39-year-old triple homicide, the attorney general is asking the public to help with another unsolved Mahoning Valley death.
As part of his Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is asking for information regarding the 2008 homicide of John Cotton, was shot to death inside Cotton's Automotive Repair Shop in Youngstown on May 22, 2008.
According to information submitted to the Ohio Attorney General's Unsolved Homicides Database, Cotton left his McGuffey Road business that morning to go to a junk yard on Atkinson Street. Later that evening, neighbors noticed the victim's pickup truck parked in front of the shop, but no one answered the business door.
ohn Cotton file
• Date of birth: March 11, 1942
• Gender: Male
• Race / Ethnicity: Black
•Hair color: Black
• Eye color: Brown
Police later discovered Cotton's body inside the office of the business.
Youngstown Detective Sgt. Rick Spotleson, who continues to investigate Cotton's death, said earlier this year that Cotton was dead for at least 10 hours before he was found. Police believe he was robbed but they have no other information.
"It's a real who done it,'' Spotleson said. He said there is almost no physical evidence and no witnesses. "No one even heard the gunshots."
Spotleson said he put the case on the attorney general's unsolved homicide database in the hope that someone can leave a tip.
"This case has always bothered me,'' Spotleson said.
Investigators continue their efforts to locate anyone who may have information regarding this homicide.
"We urge anyone who knows anything about this case to contact detectives with the Youngstown Police Department," DeWine said in a news release. "There are thousands of unsolved homicides in Ohio, and we want victims' families to know that we haven't forgotten about them."
DeWine's Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative was developed in September 2012 to create a statewide database of the approximately 5,000 unsolved killings in the state. So far, 66 law enforcement agencies have submitted 1,343 unsolved homicide cases to the database.
Those with information on this or any other unsolved homicide can also contact the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO or submit a tip through the Ohio Attorney General's website, www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
Meanwhile, the suspect in a 1974 triple homicide in Canfield is expected to appear in Mahoning County Court this week.
James P. Ferrara, 64, formerly of Youngstown, is set to be arraigned Tuesday on three counts of aggravated murder, one count of aggravated burglary and a count of aggravated robbery.
Ferrara was indicted last month by a Mahoning County grand jury in connection with the Dec. 14, 1974, killings of Ben and Marilyn Marsh, and their 4-year-old daughter, Heather. Their 1-year-old son Chris survived the home attack.
Detectives with the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office re-opened the cold case in 2009.