Attorneys target DNA in church murder case

| March 25, 2010

DNA evidence is the focus for prosecutors and defense attorneys in the murder case of a man accused of robbing and killing an elderly woman in a church parking lot.

Jamar Houser, 19, of Volney Road, appeared Wednesday before Judge Lou D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in two separate felony cases. He is represented by lawyers John B. Juhasz and Lynn Maro.

Houser is charged with aggravated murder in the Jan. 23 killing of Angeline Fimog-nari, 80, of Sheridan Road, in the parking lot of St. Dominic Church on the South Side. Fimognari was shot in the head. Her purse was missing, leading police to believe she was a victim of a robbery turned deadly. Houser faces the death penalty.

In an unrelated case, Houser is charged with shooting into a house in the 3000 block of Idlewood Avenue. The shooting reportedly took place Sept. 9, 2009.

Houser has been in the county jail since his Jan. 29 arrest on a $3 million bond set by Judge Robert Milich of Youngstown Municipal Court. No court date was set for that offense.

Houser was scheduled to go on trial on the murder charge April 12, but Judge D’Apolito postponed that date to allow defense attorneys to file the proper paperwork to defend Houser. He also said the court must decide how to handle an expert DNA witness and DNA evidence collected from the scene of the Fimognari murder.

Police collected DNA from the surface of Fimognari’s car where someone had touched the vehicle. It has not been determined who touched the car or if any of that DNA evidence will lead back to Houser.

Houser will be in court again for another pretrial hearing at 10 a.m. May 10.

Houser had several supporters in the courtroom during Wednesday’s hearing including his mother, who is facing legal issues of her own concerning her son’s case.

Houser’s parents have been indicted on felony retaliation charges for reportedly threatening a witness against their son.

John Houser, 46, and Frances Cianciola, 42, were arrested outside their residence on Volney Road on warrants charging them with retaliation. John Houser also is in the county jail on a $250,000 bond. Cianciola is free on a $100,000 bond.

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Category: Church Security