A toddler killed last fall has received justice, according to prosecutors and a jury of 12. The one-year-old child was gunned down by two alleged gang members last August, The News-Herald noted on Friday shortly following the verdict.
The convicted shooters — 21-year-old Keshawn Jennings and 19-year-old Antwaine Jones — were described as gang members by prosecutors. State attorneys said the pair fired on a Moody Manor apartment in Toledo, Ohio, after mistakenly believing a rival gang member was inside. The bullets struck and killed a one-year-old girl and injured her sister.
Jennings and Jones were convicted in large part due to surveillance video at the scene and the testimony of friend James Moore, whom defense attorneys tried to discredit throughout the trial. According to The Toledo Blade, the defense for both men argued that the state’s evidence and Moore testimony were not enough to prove the toddler was killed by the men beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defense questioned how Moore could be indicted on the same charges but not bear equal responsibility for the crimes, instead testifying in exchange for a three-year sentence on an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Ronnie Wingate, Jennings’ attorney, and Larry DiLabbio, one of two attorneys for Jones, attempted to paint Moore as a “self-admitted liar” trying to avoid a life sentence. “If you can’t trust the messenger, how can you trust the message?” Wingate said to the jury.
Jeff Lingo of the prosecutor’s office explained that Moore had “known Keshawn and Antwaine … for years. … He said it was difficult for him to be here. He said, ‘I love them like brothers.’ And yet he still came in here and testified, and I ask you this, why would you come in and admit your participation in something that you didn’t do?”
Assistant county prosecutor Andy Lastra, responding to questions about Moore’s plea deal, said: “Why did James Moore get the deal he got?” … Because he’s not a shooter. He didn’t fire 16 shots into that apartment that night. He didn’t supply a weapon to Keshawn Jennings and Antwaine Jones.”
Unfortunately, the toddler killed in Ohio has not been an isolated incident throughout the last several months. In May, Kansas authorities found the body of a missing toddler, killed as part of a vicious triple homicide. And just last month, a man beat his girlfriend’s two-year-old to death for “disrespecting” him.
As for the toddler killed in the Ohio case, what punishment do you think the shooters deserve, and did Moore get off too easy?
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