Same judge to hear both cases of men accused in 2018 slaying of Hamilton teen

Two men charged in the 2018 homicide of teen girl in Fairfield Twp. will be back in court later this month and this time they will both be in the same courtroom.

Jordan A. Spain, 18, was indicted in March for murder and two counts of felonious assault, all with gun specifications, for his involvement in the July 23, 2018 shooting death of Sydney Garcia-Tovar. She was killed at age 16 in the 7500 block of Wildbranch Road in Tyler’s Creek Townhomes.

Spain was 14 when he allegedly committed the crime.

In September 2022, Fairfield Twp. Police arrested Spain for murder, and the case was heard in Butler County Juvenile Court because of his age at the time of the alleged offense. The case was bound over to adult court by a juvenile judge in October for grand jury consideration, and an indictment was returned.

Spain’s case was assigned to Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers II, who set bond at $1 million at arraignment.

On Wednesday, Spain’s case was transferred to common pleas Judge Greg Howard’s court by agreement of the prosecution and defense, according to court documents.

Howard has been presiding over co-defendant Markeylnd Townsend’s case since his indictment in 2021. Townsend, 24, was arrested two weeks after the homicide on an unrelated aggravated robbery charge in Hamilton and was sentenced in April 2019 to three years in prison.

While in prison, Townsend was indicted in April 2021 for murder with a gun specification and felonious assault. He is accused of firing a weapon into a car full of people driven by Garcia-Tovar. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said, “Judge Howard has already had a lot of experience with all of the facts and details of these cases. And had (Spain) not been a juvenile at the time Townsend was indicted, they would have been indicted together and the case would have been Judge Howard’s.”

It is not known if the men will be tried together or receive separate trials. Townsend and Spain are scheduled to be back in court June 28 for a pre-trial hearing.

Garcia-Tovar of Hamilton was fatally shot while behind the wheel of a car in the parking lot outside the apartment complex. She was pronounced dead the next day. A second gunshot victim survived.

According to court documents, police believe Spain is the person who fired the shot that killed Garcia-Tovar.

Spain “did shoot and kill Sydney Garcia-Tovar. Victim was shot in the head,” according to the court offense document signed by Fairfield Twp. Police Sgt. Brandon McCroskey. The court document also accuses Spain of firing a 45-caliber handgun into Garcia-Tovar’s occupied car.

At the time of Garcia-Tovar’s death, Spain lived on Wildbranch Road, where the shooting occurred.

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