ELYRIA — Two teens arraigned Thursday in connection with the Jan. 23 fatal shooting of an Elyria man waived sending their cases to a grand jury.
In a hearing in front of visiting Judge Robert Brown, Qwanda Woodson, 17, of Elyria, and Justin Smith, 18, of Oberlin, said their case could go forward without the hearing.
Woodson’s defense attorney, James Burge, said instead the parties agreed to “proceed by information” in the shooting death of 19-year-old Cody Snyder.
“It’s basically where the defense and the state agree to the charges,” he said. “So they both got charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery and trafficking in drugs.”
Smith’s defense attorney, Michael Towne, said all of the charges came with weapons specifications, but the important change was the initial murder charges had been dropped in exchange for involuntary manslaughter.
“This is something we agreed upon with the (Ohio Attorney General’s Office), and a plea is expected at the next court hearing,” he said.
Burge said the next hearing is supposed to take place July 25 where bond for Smith and Woodson is expected to be discussed.
Three others also face charges in connection with the shooting:
- Kajaun Anderson, 19, of Elyria, faces charges of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, robbery and tampering with evidence.
- Jeffrey Miraldi, 20, of Elyria, was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, trafficking in drugs, four counts of tampering with evidence, possession of drugs and permitting drug abuse.
- Jenna Turner, 20, of Middleburg Heights, was indicted on three counts of tampering with evidence.
Nearly all the charges for all three include firearm specifications that the person had a firearm or had one near them while committing the offense.
Police say Miraldi drove a 2014 Ford Focus on Clinton Avenue, with Turner and Snyder as passengers, to an alleged drug deal. The three planned to sell a half pound of marijuana to Woodson and Smith for $1,400, police said.
The juveniles allegedly planned to rob Miraldi, Snyder and Turner during the deal and enlisted the help of Anderson, police said. While the transaction was taking place, Anderson allegedly opened the back door of the vehicle and pointed a gun inside. A confrontation ensued and Anderson shot Snyder in the chest, police said.
Miraldi drove Snyder to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, where Snyder died from his injuries, police said.
In addition to the gun police say Anderson used to shoot Snyder, there was another gun at the scene of the shooting, one acquired by Miraldi, according to police. One of Miraldi’s tampering with evidence charges stemmed from him disposing of the firearm after Snyder died, police said.
The car Miraldi was driving during the incident was registered to his father, Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge John Miraldi. The elder Miraldi is not under investigation, but his son’s involvement prompted a special prosecutor being brought in to handle the case as well as Brown, who retired from the bench in Wayne County.
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