Phil Trexler

The first of nine defendants currently facing capital murder charges in Summit County is awaiting a jury’s verdict.

A Common Pleas Court jury on Monday began deliberating aggravated murder charges against Bryan D. Giles, 20, of Akron.

Judge Alison McCarty said the panel would be sequestered until a verdict is reached. They deliberated about three hours without reaching verdicts on all the counts. They resume talks today.

If Giles is convicted of the charges and death specifications, jurors would return at a later date to hear evidence and consider whether to recommend a death sentence or a term of life in prison with various parole eligibility.

Giles is accused of shooting his cousins during a home invasion burglary and robbery Feb. 5 inside the two men’s home on Madison Avenue in Akron.

Jarrell Cunningham, 27, died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Terrell Patterson, 21, was shot twice in the head, but survived. Patterson called 911 immediately after the attack and testified last week during Giles’ trial.

Giles’ guilt or innocence does not appear to be in dispute. Summit County prosecutors came to court armed with the defendant’s recorded confession to Akron police detectives as well as a handwritten and signed confession.

At stake during the trial is Giles’ life, which prosecutors are attempting to end through execution. In addition to murder, Giles is facing aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery charges.

In Summit County, prosecutors have nine defendants on their court docket indicted on capital murder charges. The nine cases are a recent county high and come at a time when fewer people are being sentenced to death in Ohio.

Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Peacock told jurors that the exact motive for the shooting is unclear, but he said it appears Giles broke into his cousins’ home to rob them of cash and marijuana.

Peacock told jurors that Giles might have been spurred by “revenge, a sense of betrayal or greed.” At the time of his arrest, police said Giles had a “personal issue” with Cunningham.

“His motive might not be exactly clear,” Peacock said in closing arguments. But “his intent to get into there was, yes to steal, but also to kill.”

He said that once Giles climbed through a living room window, he was confronted by Cunningham. Peacock said that after Giles fired the single fatal shot, he climbed over Cunningham’s body and went to an upstairs bedroom, where he shot Patterson twice in the head.

“It’s a miracle that Terrell is alive, but he’s certainly suffered quite a bit for what happened here,” Peacock told jurors.

Giles then took some cash and marijuana and fled the West Akron neighborhood off Copley Road. Peacock said Giles failed to notice several hundred dollars in cash on an ironing board in a second upstairs bedroom.

Defense attorney George Pappas gave a brief closing argument that never mentioned Giles’ confession. Instead, he recounted most of the state witness testimony about the bloody crime scene and the lack of direct evidence collected against Giles.

Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or ptrexler@thebeaconjournal.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PhilTrexler.