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Judge declares mistrial in Alishah Pointer trial because of communication issue

Posted at 11:41 AM, Mar 13, 2023

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Because a procedural communication was inadvertently sent only to prosecutors, a mistrial has been declared in the trial of three men accused of kidnapping, torturing, killing and leaving Alishah Pointer in a basement in East Cleveland on Nov. 4, 2021.

The courts released the following statement on the trial this morning:

"Prior to the trial resuming this morning, there was a motion for mistrial. Court staff had sent a procedural communication to the parties, which was inadvertently sent only to the prosecutors. Because this could be considered ex-parte communication, out of an abundance of caution, the Court granted the mistrial and the Judge recused himself from the case."

The mistrial comes one week after jury selection began for the trials of Anthony Bryant, Brittany Smith and Hakeem-Ali Shomo.

Destiny Henderson, Portria Williams and Nathaniel Poke Jr. previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

According to court records, on Nov. 4, 2021, Williams, Henderson, Poke, and Shomo drove to a residence near Glenmont and Superior in East Cleveland.

Henderson and Shomo, who were armed with a gun, allegedly forced two women to get inside their vehicle and take them to Pointer's location, court records show.

Pointer was then allegedly lured outside and taken by gunpoint to Williams' house. Court records state Shomo, Smith and Bryant then assaulted Pointer to get information on their friend's death.

Henderson, Smith, Williams, and Bryant allegedly forced Pointer inside a vehicle and drove her to an abandoned house near Savannah and Montana avenues, where Williams and Bryant allegedly shot and killed her.

Pointer's body was found on Nov. 9, 2021.

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Six indicted for murder of Alishah Pointer, woman found dead in basement of East Cleveland home