April 16, 2014

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Ohio ex-con charged in fatal shooting of girl, 5

Geoffrey Gurkovich

Geoffrey Gurkovich

CLEVELAND — An ex-con was charged with aggravated murder in the death of a 5-year-old girl who was shot in the head while sitting in a vehicle with her mother.

The victims — Jermani Brooks and her 33-year-old mother, Noni Brooks — apparently were in the wrong place at the wrong time, Police Chief Michael McGrath said.

The suspect, Geoffrey Gurkovich, intended to shoot a man who got into an argument with his girlfriend, McGrath said. The girlfriend gave Gurkovich information that led him to the area where the victims were shot Sunday night, said McGrath.

Jermani Brooks died. Her mother was wounded and was hospitalized in fair condition.

Gurkovich’s arraignment had been scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed until Thursday. No attorney for him was listed in court records detailing the charge. The court filings included a request for high bond.

Police credited a neighbor’s surveillance footage with helping them solve the crime.

With the help of the recording, police traced a van seen leaving the area at the time of the shooting, checked at Gurkovich’s former home and developed information that led to his arrest in nearby Newburgh Heights.

Police said Gurkovich, 32, of Cleveland, has served time behind bars for escape and domestic violence. Prison records show he was released in 2012 after serving more than three years on a sentence out of Cleveland.

A vigil for the girl was scheduled for Thursday evening in her working-class neighborhood near Interstate 480 on Cleveland’s west side.

  • oldschool

    Scumbag, slow learner. Public hanging!!

  • Frank Siegfried

    No jury trial, no appeals, no lengthy prison stay. Take this no good, worthless, waste of flesh out and hang him from the nearest tree. And before you tree huggers start on me, I do not give two s%^ts about “how his family feels”, he killed a five year old for no reason. Let justice be swift and the punishment, severe.

    • Bob Sweatt

      Well put.

      But don’t hold back tell us how you really feel. LOL

    • Joe Smith

      Yea, heck with the Constitution….sigh
      Trial first THEN the death penalty

  • Nancy Derenberger Grob

    He should have been locked up years ago , this would never have happened. Poor little girl gone now all because of a worthless piece of crap like him.

  • jz

    Please charge his girlfriend for her involvement if legally possible.

  • me101

    What a jerk! having an argument with your girlfriend means getting your gun and shooting whoever is there? I hope the girlfriend is charged as well. RIP, Jermani Brooks, society will make sure he pays.

    • Bob Sweatt

      UM why would the girlfriend be charged?? What did she do?? Did I miss something in this story??

      • jz

        We don,t know based on the newspaper reports how much of a role she may have played. She gave the murderer information which led to him finding the victims. She instigated the situation. Did she know, did the murderer say he was going to go shoot her? Did she help him find the victims? Did she get the gun for him? If so she could legally be an accomplice. C,mon man. Think it thru.

        • Bob Sweatt

          Objection, speculation.

          Is what a lawyer would say. Think it through yourself.

          If you read every story about this, you would know that tje victims were not thw intended targets. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

          • me101

            She had the argument with the unknown WITHOUT HER BOYFRIEND THERE. She told him where to go and look. Being the intended targets is not the point….he never would have went there if it wasn’t for her information. The speculation lies in what she knew he was going to do. But, we don’t convict on what’s morally right, do we.?

          • jz

            Believe me. The cops will investigate and if they find evidence she contributed enough to be legally charged they will charge her with aiding and abetting. Sweat is looking for disagreement where there is none.

          • jz

            I know that. She is not even charged yet. Maybe she will be maybe not. Now you are speculating. That is ok. If they dig up evidence enough to make a strong case against her then the objection/speculation argument that an attorney could make would be up to a jury. Or not. If evidence is strong she egged him on, gave him the gun, whatever, you or I don’t know at this point. She could also plead to a lesser charge. Once again, I only pointed out that she could be charged criminally depending on what role she may or may not have played. Victims in the wrong place is moot. The point is “her role” if any. Speculaton? Yes. Can you grasp that?

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    Shoot him in the head!

    • formerlorainresident

      I think a rope would look very nice wrapped around that “beautiful” tattoo on his neck.

      But of course, someone would probably complain that a piece of art work was destroyedby “rope rash.”

    • Bob Sweatt

      That would be nice. But you know this scumbag will sit in prison for over 20 years before he is put to death. That is of course if he doesn’t make a plea agreement to keep himself off of death row.

      • formerlorainresident

        I think this one will get death, as he should. Killing a 5yo pretty much sealed his fate.

        If not, I am sure we will be hearing from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

        Cleveland does not need a visit from them, just take care of the problem themselves. as they should. Just quietly put him to death.

        But wait, we can’t. I forgot. It may be too painful and take 15 minutes, during which time he may suffer. How inhumane of me to think like this. I apologize to the killer, I did not mean to sound so cruel.

      • jz

        Here is a possibility. Plea agreement. He rats on the girlfriend that she got the gun and egged him on. Just a possibility. Happens all the time.

        • Bob Sweatt

          OK JZ when are you going to speculate that this was racially motivated??

          • jz

            My first comment responded to your questioning why the girlfriend would be charged. Yes. I speculated that it is possible she could be charged depending on her role in the situation, which the police will know much more than the article points out. I don,t see any racial motivation, however, you and I don,t know. FYI. Plea agrements are made all the time if and when someone “rats” out the other. Again . You and I don’t know.