A 22-year-old Cambridge St., Youngstown man has confessed to the attempted murder of 25-year-old South Ave. woman in the early-morning hours in late March at her South Ave. apartment.
Jessica Helpy, of 4611 South Ave., apt. 1, suffered stab wounds near her neck and under her right jaw, and a swollen right eye when she was attacked by a 235-lb. man on Mar. 29. She also had lacerations on the first three fingers of her left hand, Ptl. Matt Sell said.
At least seven Boardman police units answered a report of a stabbing about 3:40 a.m. at Helpy’s apartment.
Helpy told Officer Sell and Ptl. Paul Poulos that she met a man identified as Patrick Howard, of 819 Cambridge St., Youngstown at a Shell station on Market St. in Youngstown.
Helpy, (a caucasion), told police “she heard that Howard (black) liked white girls, and he liked to take care of his women. Helpy stated she wanted to be taken care of, and wanted Howard to spend money on her,” Officer Sell reported in an initial report of the stabbing.
Helpy described her assailant as black man, dressed in black “with his hair tied-up into puffs on the top of his head.”
Lt. Ed McDonnell, Sgt. Paul Grimes, and Officers Stephen Dubos, Anthony Ciccotelli and Daryn Tallman began a search for the suspect.
At 4:30 a.m., McDonnell spotted Howard in the parking lot of Schwebel Bakery, 965 East Midlothian Blvd. He carried a cell phone that belonged to Helpy and “admitted hat he was at the apartment and that an assault had taken place,” Officer Sell reported.
“Howard has confessed to trying to kill Jessica Helpy,” Det. Glenn Patton said.
Howard was lodged in the Mahoning County Jail, without bond.
Oct. 10, 2010 Shooting At Apartment
Building, 4111 Glenwood Ave.
Helpy was arrested three days after an Oct. 10, 2010 shooting inside her apartment at the Newport Glen Apartments, 4011 Glenwood Ave.
When first constructed and opened 45 years ago, the apartments were hailed as ‘a buffer’ between the fine residential homes of the historic Glen district’ of Boardman and the nearby decaying neighborhoods of Youngstown.
Shortly before midnight on Oct. 10, 2010, 21-year-old Jerome Miller, black, of 1618 Overland, Youngstown, stumbled out of Helpy’s apartment with gunshot wounds to his face and back.
His shooting eventually led to the arrest and conviction of a 22-year-old man, Covey Kestral Salinas.
According to Mahoning County Court records, Salinas entered a plea of guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated assault and was sentenced to 30 months in prison by Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Lou D’Apolito.
The night of the shooting, Officer William Woods reported that police found a 9mm pistol, a cell phone, a black jacket, marihuana, a spent 9mm slug and shell casings inside Helpy’s apartment where the carpeting was covered with blood.
Woods noted that Helpy also consented to a gunshot residue tests on her hands.
Woods and fellow officers Tim Hughes, Jamison Lytle, Stephen Dubos, Sell and McDonnell arrived and found Miller “sitting outside the apartment building in the courtyard area in front. He was going in and out of consciousness and said he couldn’t breathe,” Hughes reported.
Helpy drew the attention of police when Hughes said the woman “came running from the north, in front of the apartment building.
“Helpy had no shoes or socks on, screaming and was crying and trying to get to the victim,” Hughes noted.
“Once she got close enough to see [Miller], she stated “I don’t know who that guy is.”
At that time, all Helpy would say to police was a question, wondering if ‘the guys were still in her apartment,’ and she claimed she “only knew one...I only knew him as Cees.”
Before arresting Covey Salinas in connection with Miller’s shooting, investigators sifted through a variety of information, provided by not only Helpy, but several others.
Their investigation led to the arrest of Helpy, on a charge of obstruction of justice. In a plea deal approved by the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office, the charge was later dismissed.
Early in the investigation, Helpy told Officer Hughes that no one was inside her apartment prior to the shooting, adding that she was not home either.
She told police she had been working at the former Rusty’s Bar, South Ave. and Western Reserve Rd. until 9:00 p.m., when she called her sister to take her home.
After changing her clothes, Helpy said her sister drove her to a friend’s house,, identifying her friend as Janet ‘Blue’ Mayes, who lived in Youngstown ‘between Glenwood Ave. and Firnley.’
Helpy said she walked around the house and noticed ‘Blue’s’ light was not on, so she began walking back to Boardman encountering two men she knew along the way.
According to Officer Hughes, Helpy did not know their last names, identifying the men as only ‘Sosa’ and ‘D.’
Their conversation was interrupted, Helpy said, when one of the men got a phone call “from a female known on the street as Bones.”
Helpy told police she arrived back at her residence to find ‘two large males,’ including one armed with a gun in her living room. One of the men ordered ‘get the bitch out of here,’ Hughes reported.
Helpy said she was frightened and ran into her bedroom and fled out the window, just as she heard ‘a shot.’
During this offering, Helpy told Officer Hughes she didn’t know either man, or how they made entrance into her apartment.
The black leather jacket found in her apartment, Helpy told officers ‘belonged to Cees [believed to be Covey Salinas],’ further noting she met the man “at Labor Day cookout with her friend, Shanita Kimbrough,” who police believe is apparently cousin of Kimbrough’s.
“Cees lives in Detroit and comes to visit his family in Youngstown,” Hughes reported, noting the woman said ‘Cees’ had spent a couple of nights at her apartment when he was in town for week.
Helpy told Officer Hughes she took ‘Cees’ to a bus station in Akron the night before the shooting “so he could get back to Detroit.” She told police she did not have a phone number for the man, and would communicate with him only ‘through Kimbrough.’
Det. Patton conducted a follow-up investigation of the crime scene, arriving there shortly after midnight on Oct. 12.
Patton reported that “Helpy was evasive, making several references to “having to get out of here and that she could not be seen ‘leaving or talking’ to the police or she would be next...
“You know how black people are, it will be all against me.”
Helpy told Det. Patton, at first she thought ‘Cees’ had been shot, and she offered no response when asked why she thought ‘Cees’ could have been shot, when he supposedly when back to Detroit the night before.
Helpy left the scene of the shooting when she was picked-up in a red Mitsubishi registered to Willie Fountain Jr., Det. Patton said. When police followed-up on the car’s registration, they found the vehicle titled to 2140 Hillman, Youngstown.
“This address does not exist and was a vacant lot,” Det. Patton said.
Det. Patton also learned that a Newport Glen security guard made claims that Miller had been seen numerous times over the two weeks prior to the shooting “visiting Helpy.” The security guard also claimed ‘she would keep males around for about two weeks’ and had ‘frequent visitors.’
The detective and Ptl. Dubos went to St. Elizabeth in Youngstown in an effort to speak with Miller.
Upon arriving at the hospital, officers learned that Miller had been there earlier in the evening when he ‘dropped-off’ the victim of another shooting, Dawan Williams around 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2010.
Miller was a passenger in a car driven by Keith Black, and at first identified himself to St. Elizabeth police as Michael Hackett.
It was just a short time later that a woman identified as Tracey Adams was taken to the same hospital, arriving in a 1989 red Thunderbird that Det. Patton said was registered to Brittany Bradley, of 7484 Becky Ct., Boardman. Adams had a gunshot wound to the arm.
The Boardman police officers said they spoke with Miller’s sister, Shari Crocket, of Youngstown, at the hospital.
The sister told police she last spoke with her brother at 6:00 p.m. via cell phone when he told her “he was just riding around with friends.”
Crocket told police she had “only known her brother since Father’s Day this year and did not know if her brother had enemies or not,” Det. Patton reported.
The sister said she knew her brother ‘to have multiple girlfriends,’ including females named “Jesse, Michelle (16-17-years-old), CiCi (of Westview Apartments, Youngstown); and Betty (of Idora Ave., Youngstown).”
Boardman police at the hospital learned from a surgeon that a bullet had entered Miller’s face, shattering his cheek bone and breaking his jaw, and another round that entered his abdomen and ‘knicked’ his bowels.
However, police were unable to speak with Miller.
Three days after the shooting, Det. Glenn Patton of the Boardman Police Department, spoke with Miller at St. Elizabeth’s.
Miller told Det. Patton that he and a friend, identified as Ben Ross “were riding in Ross’s vehicle, when Ross ‘got a call from’...Jessica Helpy, asking the he come to Helpy’s apartment. Miller told the detective they were going to Helpy’s apartment ‘to chill’ and he believed that Ross “had been trying to hook-up with Helpy.”
Miller said when he and Ross reached Miller’s apartment, a man Helpy referred to as “her dude” showed-up, and he got the impression that “it was her boyfriend.”
Miller claimed when ‘the dude’ arrived, Ross left the apartment, ‘stepping out to use the phone, or some other reason,’ when ‘the dude’ pulled a black handgun and shot him in the stomach.
As he fell to the ground, his assailant pumped another round into his face; and while attempting to flee, he was shot a third time, in the back.
Miller claimed that Helpy was in the apartment at the time of the shooting,” Det. Patton reported.
The victim also said he had no idea why someone wanted to shoot him, and he never met Helpy before the night of the shooting.
Police also asked Miller why he brought another shooting victim, Dawan Williams, to the hospital in the evening of Oct. 10?
“He stated he was in the Hilton Ave. area shooting dice [when a shooting occurred] and he and Black realized [Williams] had been hit,” Det. Patton reported.
Officer Patton went to Ross’s home at 26 Vermont Ave., Youngstown, where his father, Lawrence, answered the door, informing officers that his son Ben, lived there with his girlfriend, Jerwanda Atkins and their two children.
Ben Ross was not home at the time, but Atkins told police that her boyfriend was familiar with Helpy ‘from the streets and the two of them had contact in the past.’
Police eventually reached Ross by phone. He claimed Helpy was at her apartment during the shooting, and said he believed the man who shot Miller was Helpy’s ‘dude.’
According to Det. Patton, the investigation then led police to the home of William Dixon, 352 Woodbine, Struthers.
Dixon’s mother told police that her son had a child in common (1-year-old boy) with Helpy and she showed up at the home the day after to shooting “with both of her children,” asking Dixon’s mother to watch the kids “because she was in some trouble.”
Dixon’s mother also noted her son was ‘dating a new girlfriend’ because he and Helpy were not getting along.
In the evening hours of Oct. 13, 2010 Helpy contacted the Boardman Police Department saying she ‘wanted to turn herself in.’ She told police that she was ‘at a residence (67 Hilton) close to Boardman’ but didn’t want to turn herself in there, so a meeting was arranged in the parking lot of First Place Bank, Market St. at Midlothian.
She was picked-up by Ptl. Paul Poulos and taken to the Boardman Police Department, where she was again questioned by Det. Patton.
This time, Helpy told police her memory of the night of Oct. 10 was ‘hazy’ because she had been drinking prior to getting off work at Rusty’s, and that was followed by “smoking a bunch of weed.”
On Oct. 15, 2010, Helpy asked to speak with police while incarcerated in the Mahoning County Jail.
She told Det. Patton the man she met on the Shell gas station the night of the shooting was ‘Derrell Evans,’ whom she had met at a pajama party ‘a few months ago’ on the south side of Youngstown.
Helpy told police that ‘Evans’ wasn’t her boyfriend, but she had sex with the man ‘twice.” She said she invited ‘Evans’ to her apartment and he had said he would bring some pot with him. The pair were going to “get high and hang out together that night,” Det. Patton reported.
According to Helpy, ‘Evans’ “called someone to have a half-ounce of hydro-pot delivered to her apartment for $250,” Patton said.
Helpy told Patton when she got to her apartment on Oct. 10, “there were three black males inside,” including Miller, who claimed he was going to rob Helpy and her friend, ‘Evans.’
When Miller brandished a gun, the man named ‘Evans’ pulled out his own gun and shot Miller, Helpy claimed.
Inside the apartment at the time of the shooting, Helpy said, were Miller (who brought the pot) as well as ‘Man,’ whom she knew through Ben Ross and who lived on the south side of Youngstown; and a man named ‘Mike,’ whose name Helpy claimed was possibly fake.
Police presented their case to the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office and on Feb. 22, 2011 met with Becky Doherty of the prosecutor’s office, along with Helpy and her court-appointed counsel, Atty. Lynn Maro in the hopes of reaching a pre-trial agreement on the obstruction charge.
At this meeting, Helpy said that she and Covey Salinas had ‘an arrangement’ to buy two handguns (a 9mm and a .45-calibre) ‘from an associate’ for $700 from the person she only knew as ‘Man.’
She said that Salinas was someone she had feelings for, they were ‘essentially’ boyfriend and girlfriend,’ Officer Patton reported.
Just prior to the shooting, Helpy told Patton, the prosecutor and her court-appointed counsel that Miller and the ‘Man’ both brandished guns and she fled out the bedroom window of her apartment ‘about the same time she heard a gunshot.’
However, according to Det. Patton, gunshot tests on Helpy indicated she was present when the shots were fired.
Helpy told Officer Patton she had lied about the shooting because she was afraid and at first thought Salinas was shot.
It wasn’t until sometime in November, 2011 that Helpy said she learned who had been shot at her apartment when she was at her babysitter’s home ‘a white house with pillars’ on Hilton, between Market St. and Southern Blvd. in Youngstown.
Helpy told police that her friend Salinas hailed from New York City, and went by the name of ‘N.Y,’ noting he was a student at Youngstown State and also sold clothes ‘on-line.’
Det. Patton learned from the YSU police that Salinas was arrested in June, 2010 in connection with a gun-related incident, and Salinas no longer attended the school.
Lt. Adovasio of the YSU-PD also told Officer Patton that Salinas had been involved in a shooting in New York City sometime around Christmas, 2010, but fled the hospital there before he could be questioned by police.
Patton learned from Sarah Stafford, who by Feb. 25, 2011 was identified as the girlfriend of Salinas and an employee of YSU, and who said she sometimes stays at the home of her parents at 5850 West Blvd., that Salinas had enrolled at Kent State University after leaving YSU.
Salinas was arrested by U.S. marshals in Kent, then taken to the Mahoning County Jail.
While Salinas was convicted in connection with the Oct. 10, 2010 shooting, Miller lived only two more years, ending his life when he was shot to death in Oct., 2012 in the parking lot of the Coconut Grove, on South Ave. in Youngstown. He was the 17th homicide victim in Youngstown in 2012.
Also injured in that shooting, police said, was 33-year-old Tamara Sharpe, who suffered a bullet wound to the arm. Sharpe, police said, was related to another of the city’s 2012 homicide victims, Tequon Sharpe, 20, whose body was found lying in a pool of blood inside a home on East Judson, Youngstown. He had suffered a gunshot wound to the head.
In July, 2011, the obstruction charge against Helpy was dismissed as part of her deal implicating Salinas in the shooting of Miller.
In between the Oct. 11, 2010 shooting and her Newport Glen apartment, and the Apr., 2013 stabbing at her South Ave. apartment, Helpy filed a police report on Apr. 14, 2012, telling police her 1999 Cavalier had been stolen.
She told Ptl. Dubos she left her apartment for just a half hour, returning 20 minutes later near 10:00 p.m. to find the unlocked car missing.
She told Ptl. Dubos she suspected a ‘friend she had an argument with’ as a suspect.
“Helpy said the car’s ignition malfunctions and she is able to start it without keys. She said she did not receive any keys from the previous owner when she purchased the vehicle,” Officer Dubos said.
On Mar. 10, 2010, six months before the shooting at her Glenwood Ave. apartment, Helpy called police claiming her food stamps, valued at $948 had been stolen and she suspected a friend she had seen earlier in the day was the thief.
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After the Mar. 29 assault, Helpy was taken by Lane Ambulance to the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Youngstown for treatment, leaving an apartment building described by Officer Sell as pocked with “hundreds of drops of blood all over the floor and walls...thousands of drops of blood all over the steps, down the hall and into the apartment.
“On a kitchen table was a bloody knife,” Officer Sell said.