Shooting incident comes as wake-up call for victim

LISBON – Matthew J. Sharp, who survived a Mahoning County shooting incident which killed another man, told Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam it was a wake-up call for him.

“Life is short, and there’s better options out there besides spending my life behind bars,” Sharp said.

Washam sentenced Sharp to probation Thursday for a burglary charge in this county. The sentence was recommended by Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble.

Sharp, 33, Chris Avenue, Washingtonville, pleaded guilty in late June to burglary for reportedly forcing his way into the back door of the home of Jack Soloman, Butcher Road, Salem, on Aug. 15, 2012 and taking an Acer laptop, handguns and coins, which he used later to satisfy a heroin habit, according to court documents.

Sharp faced up to 36 months in prison and a $10,000 fine, and Washam told him Thursday violating his probation could lead to 36 months in prison being imposed.

Sharp was indicted by the county grand jury in October 2012. While awaiting his hearings, he was reportedly involved in a drug deal, which led to a shooting incident in Youngstown on Feb. 1. David Stokes, 52, Lisbon, was shot and killed during the alleged deal in an apartment complex parking lot. Sharp was shot in the upper leg.

A Mahoning County man, Larry Blue, 33, is accused of being the one who opened fire. Blue is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and two counts felonious assault. He is scheduled for a jury trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in September.

Sharp said he has had numerous nightmares about the shooting, which has convinced him to change his life. He is now working and was granted intervention in lieu of conviction for two theft charges in Mahoning County.

According to Gamble, since his indictment, Sharp has helped investigators here by providing information regarding illegal activity at a public institution. Additionally, Gamble said Sharp made restitution to Soloman for the stolen items.

“He has met the conditions we were asking,” said Gamble, who reportedly reduced the sentence request he made at an earlier hearing.

During Thursday’s hearing Sharp apologized for his actions.

“It’s something that should never have happened,” he said. “It has cost me a lot of time and the relationship with my mother has suffered. I need to be doing something positive with my life, instead of hanging out with people who don’t care if I got into trouble.”