Jacob LaRosa was fifteen years old when he murdered an elderly woman. According to court documents Jacob LaRosa broke into the home of the ninety three year old woman and would end up fatally beating her to death with a flashlight.
This teen killer would be charged with burglary, attempted rape, murder and aggravated robbery. Jacob LaRosa would be convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole
Jacob LaRosa 2023 Information
Admission Date 10/19/2018
Institution Marion Correctional Institution
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Jacob LaRosa, 20, who was sent to adult prison a year ago for killing his elderly Niles neighbor in 2015, is asking the 11th District Court of Appeals to reverse his conviction and sentencing.
Oral arguments were given Tuesday in the 11th District Court of Appeals the case. LaRosa of Niles was 15 when he killed Marie Belcastro, 94, in her Cherry Street home.
The appeal seeks to reverse his life-without-parole sentence from Trumbull County Common Pleas Court and the decision of a Trumbull County Juvenile Court judge to transfer his case from juvenile to adult court.
Attorney Lynn Maro argued Tuesday and in her filings that Juvenile Court Judge Sandra Stabile Harwood transferred the case to adult court despite evidence that LaRosa was amenable to treatment.
“Multiple doctors provided testimony that there were treatment options and rehabilitation options available that had not been tried with Jacob,” Maro said. “Testimony and evidence confirmed improvement and behavior and maturity in the three years Jacob was incarcerated while awaiting trial. Yet, the trial court’s sentence foreclosed the possibility of change and rehabilitation.”
After the case was transferred to adult court, Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay decided LaRosa’s sentence after LaRosa pleaded no contest to aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and attempted rape.
Maro gave a history of LaRosa’s developmental difficulties as a boy, saying he had an “extremely low” IQ of 64 at age 8 and had started receiving counseling. He was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder and other disorders by age 9.
An older sister also was in counseling by age 14 and “explained how dysfunctional and abusive the family truly was,” Maro’s filing says.
She quoted from the testimony of Dr. Thomas Gazley, who concluded during testimony that LaRosa “was not emotionally, physically or psychologically mature enough for transfer to adult court.”
Ashleigh Musick, Trumbull County assistant prosecutor, spoke at the hearing, saying testimony in juvenile court indicated that LaRosa was “offered almost every possible opportunity for rehabilitation and failed each and every step of the way.”
Two of three expert witnesses testified that LaRosa “failed to respond to multiple interventions.”
One of the three appeals judges, Mary Jane Trapp, asked Musick about information that LaRosa’s parents had not taken him to some of the treatment programs. Musick replied that this might account for “part of why he did not attend,” but, “He had gotten kicked out of several of the (treatment) programs, despite numerous efforts.”
Musick added, “His mother also had brought him to juvenile court, asking, begging for help.”
A ruling in the case will come later.
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A Niles man who was just 15 years old when he killed his 94-year-old neighbor will remain in prison after an appeals court ruled Tuesday to uphold his conviction.
Attorneys for Jacob Larosa, who is now 20, had been asking that his conviction for murdering Marie Belcastro be overturned on the grounds that a juvenile court should have heard his case.
On Tuesday, the 11th District Court of Appeals ruled against Larosa’s motion to have his conviction overturned.
Larosa pleaded no contest and was found guilty of aggravated murder, attempted rape, and theft for breaking into Belcastro’s home, attempting to rape her and beating her to death with a flashlight.
Larosa was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole