Obstruction cost certain over for man who’s witness/suspect in Youngstown murder


Charles Lightning, who was on the lamb more than a month after an arrest warrant was filed against him, managed to get bail

by: Joe Gorman

Posted: Apr 16, 2021 / 1:03 PM EDT
Updated: April 16, 2021 / 1:05 p.m. EDT

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A person interested in an October murder who has evaded questioning by the police On Friday an obstruction of justice charge was tied to a Mahoning County grand jury.

Magistrate Anthony Sertick noted that after a preliminary hearing in a city court, there were enough probable grounds to bring charges against Charles Lightning, 27, of a fifth degree felony.

Shortly after the death of Marquis Buxton, 24, on October 31, detectives tried to question Lightning was found shot dead in an SUV in a parking lot on Market Street and West Judson Avenue.

Detectives wanted to interview Lightning after he showed up at the St. Elizabeth Health Center almost exactly at the same time as officers responded to the parking lot where Buxton was found dead after being shot in the head.

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Lightning told detectives that he was shot dead in the 3200 block on Market Street, but police had no evidence of a shooting, including the lack of activation by a gunshot sensor in that block.

They tried to interrogate Lightning several times again, but he denied their efforts, so an arrest warrant for the disability was issued on March 2. Lightning was only found in Warren on April 8th. He was free for $ 25,000 bonds he deposited following his indictment last week.

Detective Sgt. Michael Lambert, the lead investigator on the case, testified at the hearing that he believed Lightning lied to him at the hospital where he was interviewed by detectives. After the Marshals took him into custody, Lightning changed his story to say he was present at the shooting, but he wouldn’t say who shot Buxton.

“There he became uncooperative again,” said Lambert.

According to Lambert, shot sensors near the parking lot fired at least five shots. It turned out that a blood sample at the crime scene belonged to Lightning, which, according to Lambert, led him to believe that Lightning was there and that he was not being honest with the police.

Lambert also admitted that Lightning is a suspect in Buxton’s death.

During cross-examination of defense attorney Nick Cerni, Lambert said he was unaware that Lightning was being given pain medication in the hospital, which may have affected his ability to react, and he also said so, although Lightning eventually told police that he was hospitalized at the scene he was still holding back what had happened.

Lambert said, under a diversion check by assistant prosecutor Gene Fehr, that Lightning obstructed the judiciary for lying to police twice, and that doing so affected the entire investigation. If the murder case is ever prosecuted, defense attorneys can use the fact that Lightning was not truthful to convince the jury that he is not a good witness.

“He left a trail of lies and deception that we have to overcome in court,” said Lambert. “He permanently damaged the investigation and prosecution of the case.”

In his final argument, Cerni said Lightning had no duty to witness the police.