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Mistrial denied in drive-by shooting case

  • Yatson-jpg

    Ryan Yatson



ELYRIA — A judge denied a motion for a mistrial in the case of Ryan Yatson, whom police said was involved in 2016 drive-by shooting in North Ridgeville.

Judge Mark Betleski denied a motion filed by defense attorney Tony Dalayanis requesting the judge declare a mistrial due to the defense not being given reports on fingerprint and DNA evidence prior to the start of the trial.

Yatson, 26, of North Ridgeville, faces charges of felonious assault, discharge into habitation, discharge on/near a prohibited premises and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle.

Prosecutors allege that Yatson and James Hasselbach used Yatson’s AR-15 assault rifle and Hasselbach’s vehicle to commit a drive-by shooting on Lear-Nagle Road near Theresa Court in September 2016, according to court documents. The two allegedly “emptied thirty rounds into the home” and struck a 17-year-old girl.

Yatson “has not denied that the gun was used to commit the drive-by shooting but has denied any participation in the shooting and has argued that Hasselbach, or someone else, took his gun and committed the crimes for which he is now charged,” court documents said.

The trial of Yatson began May 22, the jury was selected and the state called several witnesses in the first two days.

According to court documents filed by prosecutors, the state realized that North Ridgeville police had sought fingerprint evidence and DNA testing from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The testing resulted in two reports: one indicating “that the first step in DNA processing of items had occurred and that only two of the items submitted produced DNA samples that could be processed and compared” and the second indicating that fingerprints located on or in the vehicle belonged to Hasselbach.

On the third day of the trial, the state provided the reports to Dalayanis, who then moved for mistrial “based on their late disclosure.”

The trial has been in recess since May 24, and a hearing on the motion for mistrial was held before Betleski on Monday afternoon.

During the hearing, Dalayanis argued that had he had the two reports, he would have changed his strategy for the trial and handled cross examination of the state’s witnesses differently.

Prosecutors, though, argued that the reports don’t really change anything as the fact that Hasselbach’s fingerprints were found in his own vehicle is unremarkable and that the DNA testing was incomplete since police hadn’t sent samples of the suspects to BCI to test against the samples found on a magazine from the gun and another on the steering wheel of the vehicle.

During his ruling, Betleski said he didn’t believe the reports had been purposely left out by the state or police.

While arguing for the defense, Dalayanis said North Ridgeville police may have tried to “goad” the defense into asking for a mistrial, but Betleski said he also didn’t believe that was true, since the case is nearly 3 years old, and kicking it out another six months wouldn’t benefit police in any way.

The trial is set to resume at 9 a.m. today.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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