STEUBENVILLE - A city man who had a murder charge dropped against him last week appeared Monday in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court for a sentencing in drug cases, but it was delayed until a shooting case against him is resolved.
Lonnie Smith, 31, was scheduled to be sentenced Monday by Judge David Henderson on three counts of drug trafficking and escape.
Smith initially was charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Tristan Jackson, 27, who was shot once in the head shortly after 2 p.m. on April 19 on Pittsburgh Street.
Kory Smith, 27, also was charged with murder in that incident.
The charge against the Smiths was dismissed, but Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said the grand jury continues to hear evidence in the investigation.
But, Assistant Prosecutor Frank Bruzzese told Henderson at Lonnie Smith's scheduled sentencing Monday that it is his belief Smith had nothing to do with the homicide.
Lonnie Smith and Hakeem Herbert, 22, have been charged with felonious assault in a shooting in October at Club 106 on South Street.
Herbert was with the Smiths when they were arrested in Weirton on April 22 following the Jackson shooting death.
Bruzzese told Henderson the prosecutor's office is recommending Lonnie Smith be sentenced to 14 months in prison on the three drug trafficking charges, in which he sold cocaine to a police informant, and one count of escape. He said there is an option to postpone sentencing on those charges until the felonious assault case is settled.
Smith's defense attorney, Michael Nogay, said Smith's hands were secured in zip ties during a drug raid but the tie came loose and Smith jumped off the porch but was caught. Nogay said no drugs were found during the raid.
Nogay told Henderson that Smith wanted to delay sentencing until after his felonious assault trial.
Also, Dino A. Suriano Jr., 34, of 100 Powells Lane, Wintersville, was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. to 18 months in prison on Monday after Suriano pleaded guilty to felony domestic violence and a separate case in which he was charged with failure to comply with the order of a police officer. Suriano was involved in a car chase on Nov. 3 that began on U.S. Route 22 and went through streets in the north end of the city.
Julia N. Jones, 26, of 712 Kendall Ave. was placed on probation for three years by Henderson on Monday after she pleaded guilty to three counts of forgery and two counts of felony theft.
Jones admitted to taking five blank checks and writing forged checks.
Henderson ordered her to make $1,335 in restitution. She faces up to 24 months in prison if she violates probation.