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Murder suspect faces arson charge

STEUBENVILLE — A Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday added an arson charge to the murder charge facing a city man.

Jason C. Twiley, 27, of Steubenville now faces an aggravated arson charge in connection with the Aug. 12 murder of 32-year-old Brittany Littlejohn. Twiley, Littlejohn’s boyfriend, had been identified by city police as a person of interest hours after they found her body in a detached garage near her Maxwell Avenue home and her living room engulfed in flames. Police Chief Bill McCafferty said at the time evidence discovered at the scene led detectives to believe Littlejohn had been murdered.

Twiley was arrested Sept. 20 in Louisville, Kentucky, the U.S. Marshal Service in the Western District of Kentucky reported, and was indicted on a charge of murder last month.

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said the state fire marshal released its report showing gasoline was used to light three fires inside the house.

Meanwhile, four men were indicted on burglary charges which also led to Tuesday’s sentencing of a city man for having a gun while under disability. Patrick T. Mazik, 32, of Belmont, Tyler M. Harding, 21, of St. Clairsville, John A. Nice Jr., 20, of Belmont and Austin Humes, 21, of Wheeling all were charged with burglary for an incident at a Steubenville home on Aug. 31.

City police reported seeing two cars flee the scene after shots were fired in the 1400 block of Oak Grove Avenue. An officer spotted the vehicles near the intersection of University Boulevard and Brady Avenue and pulled in front of the lead vehicle, forcing it to stop. That car, which had a flattened tire and was leaking oil and gasoline, was occupied by Mazik and Harding, police said. Mazik was “frantically stating that the other vehicle behind him was shooting at them and that the driver had a gun,” the responding officer said.

“At the same time, I observed the second vehicle … pull up alongside Mr. Mazik’s vehicle and the driver … exit the vehicle rapidly and began to approach me, yelling. I ordered him to stop and get on the ground. He stopped, quickly got on the ground and then got up.”

That man, later identified as William Withers, 36, of 2721 Sunset Blvd., got back in his car “and began to leave, driving directly at me,” the officer wrote, adding he “continued closer to me, then stopped the vehicle and (put) it in reverse.

Withers eventually fled the scene but was later arrested. Withers claimed he had seen several men trying to burglarize his father’s residence.

Withers was sentenced Tuesday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. to three years in prison after Withers pleaded guilty to having a weapon under disability.

In an unrelated case, Christopher R. Roberson, 16, of Steubenville was indicted on charges of attempted murder and felonious assault, each with a firearm specification; carrying a concealed weapon, possession of drugs; and having a weapon under disability. His case was bound over to adult court from juvenile court.

Roberson’s brother, Hezekiah Roberson, 17, of Steubenville was sentenced in March by Bruzzese to four years in prison after Hezekiah Roberson pleaded guilty to firing shots at another person. Police were called around 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 about shots fired near the intersection of South Seventh and Slack streets. Police reported a female had just picked up another person and was driving when she heard shots being fired. Police reported the woman saw a blue or black SUV behind her vehicle. Police reported the woman’s vehicle wasn’t hit, but a vehicle parked in the 400 block of South Seventh Street was struck with gunfire.

Hanlin said the Robersons got out of a vehicle and fired shots. She said the incident was gang related.

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