Man arrested in church slaying already faced a shooting charge

| January 31, 2010

YOUNGSTOWN – The 18-year-old Volney Road man arrested Friday evening in the death of an elderly parishioner at a South Side church last week was out on bond in a previous shooting case.

Court records show that Jamar Houser was indicted Oct. 31 on charges of discharging a firearm at or into a habitation and aggravated menacing by a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court grand jury.

Houser was arrested Friday evening on charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated murder in the death of Angeline Fimognari, 80. She was shot to death in the parking lot of St. Dominic Church on East Lucius Avenue Jan. 23 after 8 a.m. Mass. Police think robbery may have been a motive.

Chief of Detectives Capt. Rod Foley said prosecutors got the warrant about 7 p.m., and the Mahoning County Violent Crimes Task Force was used to serve the warrant. However, Houser was not home at the time, so officers had his mother call him on a cell phone and tell him the police were looking for him. He arranged to be picked up on a corner at Market Street and Philadelphia Avenue. He is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated murder and is expected to be arraigned in Municipal Court Monday.

While Foley credited the arrest to tips from citizens and good detective work, he cautioned that the case is not over.

''This case is far from being closed,'' he said. ''We still have a lot of work to do.''

Fimognari's nephew Al Milano said his aunt was extremely close to his wife and four children and she even watched their 3-year-old daughter four times a week.

She had no children of her own, but Milano said she told him she didn't need them.

''She said, 'You know what? You're all my children; that's what I live for,''' he said Saturday.

Milano said his aunt went to church twice a day and belonged to St. Dominic most of her life. He said she helped to raise her six or seven nieces and nephews and dedicated her life to the church and her family.

''She's someone who's never even had her picture taken her whole life,'' Milano said. ''She went to church twice a day, and in between that all she ever did was do for people.''

Bishop of the Youngstown Diocese George V. Murry led a Mass at St. Dominic in honor of Fimognari on Wednesday. He also assured worshippers that it was still safe to attend the South Side church and encouraged people to pray for Fimognari's family and to help people in need so they do not turn to violence.

Fimognari was buried later Wednesday following a funeral Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Boardman.

Houser had been in jail on $500,000 bond since his September arraignment in Municipal Court for the discharging a firearm case. His attorney filed a motion after his October indictment asking that bail be reduced. Judge Lou D'Apolito granted the motion on Nov. 10, reducing Houser's bail to $20,000. Houser posted bond soon after, court records show.

Details of the case were not available over the weekend, but he is due for a pretrial hearing Feb. 24.

Tags: , ,

Category: Church Security