Murder trial begins after man ‘executed’ at Roselawn barbershop

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:45 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:56 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The murder trial is underway of a man accused of brutally gunning down a customer getting a birthday shave at a Roselawn barbershop.

Jahman Akins, 28, “executed” Kevin Suttles, 38, by shooting him nine times in the head and torso as he sat in a barber’s chair around 3 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2021, prosecutors have said and court records show.

It was Cincinnati’s first homicide of 2021 after record-high slayings in the city during 2020.

Akins also was shot by an unknown person. He “disposed of the firearm and the clothing he was wearing,” court records show.

Cincinnati police said he was taken by a private vehicle to Jewish Hospital in Sycamore Township.

Akins was arrested there in his hospital gown as he underwent treatment.

Kevin Suttles (left) and Jahman Akins (right)
Kevin Suttles (left) and Jahman Akins (right)(Cincinnati Police Department)

Authorities later learned the identity of the person who shot Akins.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office determined it was in self-defense and the person won’t be charged, spokeswoman Amy Clausing said told FOX19 NOW in late 2021.

Akins, meanwhile, has been held at the Hamilton County Justice Center on a $1 million bond since the day of the shooting.

He was indicted on two counts each of murder and having weapons under disability. He also faces one count of tampering with evidence.

Akins is prohibited from having weapons such as guns “due to multiple prior convictions,” his court records show.

Akins was convicted in Hamilton County in 2013 of possession of heroin in 2013, trafficking in heroin in 2014 and attempted robbery in 2011, according to his indictment.

Akins has pleaded not guilty to Suttles’ homicide.

He has requested and received at least 11 delays in proceedings in his case since Feb. 3, 2021.

He also unsuccessfully asked the judge to dismiss the case in November 2021.

His jury trial was initially scheduled for May 16, 2022 and then Oct. 3, 2022.

We expect to learn more during the trial about why county officials say Akins killed Suttles.

A motive for Suttles’ killing is not included in county court records.

Federal court documents, however, identify Suttles as being involved in one of the largest opioid-trafficking organizations in the area.

Suttles was “murdered” in 2021 in Roselawn, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit.

Multiple sources, including a confidential informant, identified Suttles as a member of the drug trafficking ring, the affidavit states.

Nine months after he was killed, drug conspiracy and other charges were filed against 14 people, including a man described in court records as his brother, Jerome Newton Jr.

Newton Jr. distributed heroin/fentanyl and was one of the multiple suppliers for the drug ring, according to the affidavit.

All 14 are charged with conspiring to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. They face 10 years to life in prison if convicted.

They also possessed and distributed heroin and methamphetamine, according to an indictment unsealed on Dec. 1, 2021.

The “Roberson Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) obtained drugs from multiple sources of supply, including in Atlanta and Baltimore,” court records show.

Steffen Roberson, 40, known as “Worm,” and his older brother, Anthony Roberson, 44, known as “Chemist,” led the drug ring and are charged with conspiring to distribute fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.

That case is still ongoing with prosecutors recently securing at least three plea agreements, including a suspect who was just in court Monday to waive his right to be indicted, the latest court records show.