Families of crime victims rally against Ohio law allowing parole for some young convicts

U.S. & World

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Family members of crime victims are pushing back against a recent change in Ohio law that could let some young convicts out of prison early.  

Should teen suspects who are charged with violent crimes, convicted and sentenced to life in prison ever be granted the possibility of parole? That’s the point relatives of Niles murder victim Marie Belcastro made in Warren outside of the Trumbull County Courthouse on Friday.

Marie’s grandson is traveling the state calling for the repeal of Senate Bill 256, which would allow suspects like Jacob LaRosa, who was a teenager when he killed the victim in 2015, the opportunity at least to be eligible for parole.

LaRosa was tried, convicted and sent to prison for killing 94-year-old Belcastro.

Grandson Brian Kirk has been traveling around the state trying to gather support.

“I would argue this creates a whole new class of victims in the state of Ohio… and you’re punishing them retroactively,” Kirk said.

Kirk’s daughter was just nine when her great-grandmother died and thinks lawmakers took away the closure her family had.

“Honestly, I don’t know how else to say that… it was just… comfort was stolen. They’re the thieves,” Angelina Kirk said.

State Representative Mike O’Brien voted against the measure, and is now working to get it changed.

“If we can have some type of middle ground, specifically to aggravated murder and the elements of that murder, that maybe we can have some kind of remedy,” O’Brien said.

For now, Kirk and his family will continue fighting to ensure LaRosa never gets out of prison.

“I don’t really care about the punishment factor for him. What I care about is, ‘Let’s protect my family.’ My mom and my aunt never would have testified in open court had they thought there was a chance he’d ever be eligible for parole… in their lifetime, and mine and my children’s,” Kirk said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on NBC4i.com

Today's Central OH Forecast

Get severe weather email alerts

Don't Miss

Local News

Columbus fraternity holds food drive in memory of Lewis’ ‘good trouble'

Columbus Police investigating after viral video shows officer, suspect in fight

Alec Yoder, more Ohio athletes compete on Day 1 of 2020 Olympics

Evening Weather Forecast 07-24-2021

Balford Square Shooting Death

Four shot in Short North

More Local News