Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Irwin guilty in 2nd trial

January 26, 2011 - By MARY ANN GREIER
LISBON - New trial, new defense team, same result - a guilty verdict against Andrew Irwin for murdering Emily Foreman.
"I think the verdict speaks for itself," Columbiana County Prosecutor Robert Herron said Tuesday.
A heavy security presence, including Sheriff Ray Stone, stood in the Common Pleas courtroom as the result was read to a packed gallery of family members for both the victim and the defendant, along with staff members from the prosecutor's office and court.
Irwin's mother, Cheryl Carpenter, let out a cry then quietly sobbed in the arms of her husband. As the 12-member jury was polled individually, each saying their verdict was guilty, Irwin himself sat with his head in his right hand, looking down.
When the jury was excused to leave the room, he just sat there instead of standing as he had done throughout the trial as a show of respect. Most of his family members and supporters, his attorneys Jennifer Gorby and Fred Naragon, the prosecution team and the victim's family members all stood.
The decision came one week after a new set of jurors started hearing the gruesome details about what happened to Emily, a 21-year-old woman who was stabbed multiple times in her mother's home on Anderson Boulevard in Liverpool Township on Aug. 23, 2006.
For the second time since 2006, a jury reached the same conclusion - that the 29-year-old Irwin purposely caused her death. Irwin was already convicted of the murder in March 2007 by another jury and sentenced to 15 years to life, but the 7th District Court of Appeals overturned the conviction and sentence, resulting in the new trial.
Judge C. Ashley Pike of Common Pleas Court, the same judge who presided over the first trial, presided over this one in his renovated courtroom. He'll schedule sentencing for a later date. Irwin will again face a possible sentence of 15 years to life, meaning he'll be eligible to request parole after 15 years. He can also file an appeal.
Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense presented detailed closing arguments Tuesday morning, with the judge then delivering instructions to the jury. Jurors received the case at noon, went to lunch, then started deliberations at 1 p.m., indicating a verdict had been reached at 4:20 p.m.
"Finally this is going to be over for awhile. The family is very, very happy with another guilty verdict," Emily's eldest sister, Lisa Rayl, said.
Emily's family members included her three sisters, her brother, her mother Kim Koerber, her grandmother, her sister-in-law, cousins and nieces and nephews. All or some were present throughout the trial proceedings, as were the family members for Irwin. Koerber and Carpenter weren't permitted in the courtroom during the trial since they were on witness lists. Only Carpenter testified.
Rayl said Irwin has affected the whole family in a lot of ways and they're hoping to have no more contact with him.
"We love Emily. We've all been here because justice needed to be served for Emily and for our family. We needed to see it for it to be over," she said. "She was not perfect, but we loved her."
Rayl also acknowledged the attorneys who handled the case, saying the prosecution was "awesome."
Herron acknowledged the efforts of all the agencies involved in the case, including Liverpool Township Police Chief Charles Burgess and his officers, the East Liverpool Police Department, the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation from the Ohio Attorney General's office and the Columbiana County and Cuyahoga County coroner's offices.
He also acknowledged the efforts of his staff, including Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Gamble, Assistant Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones and Investigator Jim Brown.
When asked if the fact that Irwin testified this time around made any difference, Herron said "it certainly presented a different tenet to the case."
"These types of cases are particularly difficult because the defendant has had an opportunity for a year or more to pore over the transcripts of what was said, knows all the evidence and every essentially they have our playbook," he said.
In this case, when Irwin testified, he touched on every part of the state's case, from the blood on his body to how his DNA ended up inside the victim's purse. In closing arguments, Jones described his testimony as "a story precisely choreographed to respond to the state's evidence."
"I think the jury saw through that," Herron said, commending them for their service and noting their time involved and the responsibility they held. "We are absolutely convinced that their verdict was consistant with the evidence."
A message asking for comment was left for Naragon, but was not returned.
The case followed a lengthy path to reach the second guilty verdict with a lot of twists and turns from the date of the stabbing to now. While awaiting the first trial, Irwin was convicted of vandalism for his part in a riot at the county jail and now he's awaiting sentencing for assaulting one corrections officer and spitting at another one since his return to the jail from prison.
While he was in prison, one of the victim's sisters, Rebecca Foreman, was convicted for smuggling drugs to him.
His previous attorney, George Kafantaris, was disbarred for some of his dealings with clients in Trumbull County. Kafantaris also served some jail time in Columbiana County for two contempt findings for his actions during the first Irwin trial, including waving a tape in front of jurors after they reached their verdict, saying here is your murderer, trying to claim someone else did it.
The actions of Kafantaris were part of the reason Irwin won a new trial, with an appellate court saying he had ineffective assistance of counsel. Irwin won't be able to appeal this verdict until after he's been sentenced. He remains in the county jail with no bond.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at

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