Prosecutor explains why those fighting before Howland shooting weren’t charged

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Convicted Howland killer Nasser Hamad faces a life prison sentence for shooting and killing two men and injuring three others outside of his Howland home.

Prosecutors said a fight between a group of people on social media that moved to a physical confrontation in front of Hamad’s house led up to the shooting.

Some people asked WYTV why those people involved in the fight were never charged.

Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker explained that their intentions were unknown, which makes it hard to prove complicity.

The driver, 43-year-old April Trent, testified in court that she only went to Hamad’s house to talk to him about the feud. Inside the car were 19-year-old Josh Haber and 20-year-old Josh Williams — who were killed in the shooting — and 20-year-old Bryce Hendrickson and 17-year-old John Shively — who were injured.

Hendrickson later died of unrelated causes.

“It became very clear during the trial that the fistfight started when the defendant [Hamad] grabbed John Shively and threw him down,” Becker said. “So the first problem that you run across is what are you going to charge them with? Certainly, they would not have gone over there if they would have known that the defendant was going to come out and shoot at them five times.”

Becker said it would also be difficult to charge everyone in the case, because they may not be able to testify against Hamad.

“If you charge everyone, they all have a Fifth Amendment right, they all have a right to an attorney, and if the defendant does not waive his speedy trial time and we call these other witnesses who are now defendants, their attorneys are going to tell them, obviously, not to testify,” he said. “So who benefits from that? The shooter. The person who killed two people and shot five people, so sometimes you have to look at the degree of the offense.”

Although he was found guilty of aggravated murder, Hamad maintains that he shot the group in self-defense and that he feared for his life.

According to court documents, Hendrickson was upset that Hamad was dating his mother.

A jury didn’t recommend the death penalty for Hamad, but he still faces two life prison sentences. The judge will have the final say on Thursday.

Becker had more to say about the case. Watch the above video for his thoughts on the trial.

Nasser Hamad was joined by two additional attorneys at the defense table -- Robert Dixon and David Doughten, both criminal defense attorneys from Cleveland.
Nasser Hamad