Judge Excludes Testimony of Deceased Witness in Brandon Crump Jr.’s Trial for Killing of Rowan Sweeney

Youngstown, Ohio – Testimony from a deceased witness to the killing of 4-year-old Rowan Sweeney will not be admitted as evidence in the upcoming trial of defendant Brandon Crump Jr., ruled Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Anthony D’Apolito on Friday. The ruling came after attorneys in the case exchanged filings and made oral arguments before Judge D’Apolito. Crump’s attorney, Lou DeFabio, argued that the testimony given by the witness, Yarnell Green Jr., in 2021 was related to a different charge faced by Crump at the time, not the charges currently faced by Crump, which include aggravated murder and multiple counts of attempted murder.

DeFabio contended that the nature of the charges against Crump in 2021 differed significantly from the current charges, and therefore the defense attorney at the time did not have the same motive to cross-examine Green. Prosecutors disagreed but Judge D’Apolito ultimately ruled in favor of excluding the testimony.

The witness, Green, was shot and killed outside a Youngstown tavern in September 2022. Johnny Serrano Jr. was convicted of the killing last October. Green was one of four adults present at the Struthers home where Rowan was killed, and all four adult occupants sustained gunshot wounds but survived. The other three adults are expected to testify in the trial.

While prosecutors stated their intention to proceed with the prosecution of Crump and two other defendants, they cannot provide further comment due to a gag order imposed for the case. Authorities have indicated the existence of additional evidence obtained during the investigation, but no specifics were provided.

The trial of Brandon Crump Jr. is set to begin on Monday, where he will face charges of aggravated murder and attempted murder. The exclusion of Green’s testimony will undoubtedly impact the case, as it would have provided insight into the events leading up to the tragic death of 4-year-old Rowan Sweeney.