Suspected killers with no criminal record: New trend or simply anecdotal?

Suspected killers with no criminal record: New trend or simply anecdotal?

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Two recent and high profile Cleveland-area homicides are alleged to have been committed by young men with little or no prior criminal record at all - but is this a trend or simply anecdotal?

The two suspects in the murder of fashion model Shalaymiah Moore have no known criminal history.

Both Daylonta Jones, 20, and Curtis Gatheright, 21, are now facing murder charges in connection to the October 2 shooting in Euclid.

David McDaniel, 18, is one of the three men facing murder charges in the shooting death of Cleveland Police detective James Skernivitz, who was killed in the line of duty in September.

Neither McDaniel nor the two juveniles who have been charges have known criminal history.

“It is [troubling],” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley. “We have a culture that’s becoming almost desensitized to gun violence.”

None of those defendants have been convicted as their cases are still open and in the early stages.

According to a 2009 database released by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, 67 percent of accused killers in the nation’s 75 most populous counties had a prior criminal record at the time of their arrest.

In both the Moore and Skernivitz cases, robbery appears to be the motive.

“Some of these kids are from homes that were never embraced by love,” said Rochelle Moore, Shalaymiah’s mother. “They don’t know how to go out in the world and enjoy the fruits of the world.”

Cleveland State University criminology professor Wendy Regoeczi warns against labeling these particular examples as trends, in that they could simply be anecdotal.

But she did suggest the Coronavirus pandemic could play a role in a potential increase in crime, or perhaps an escalation in violence from typically nonviolent people.

“When you layer on top of that severe economic stress as well as a reduction in social services, it’s very possible that individuals who in normal circumstances would never consider breaking the law, may be finding themselves in such a predicament now and Behaving outside the norm.”

Whether or not what has happened in the Cleveland area is part of a trend, coincidence, or is merely anecdotal, it is a concern for O’Malley.

“There’s just such a lack of care for fellow man,” he said, referring to violence in general.

O’Malley sat down for an interview with 19 News on Friday to discuss the recent spike in murders in Greater Cleveland.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, the number of violent felony defendants with prior records jumped 19 percent from 1990 to 2009.

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