Second man charged in 2018 fatal shooting of teen girl in Fairfield Twp. pleads guilty

A second man charged in connection with the shooting death of Hamilton’s Sydney Garcia-Tovar in the summer of 2018 pleaded guilty Wednesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Markeylnd 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 fired a gun into a car full of people driven by Garcia-Tovar on July 23, 2018. He has been held in the Butler County Jail since January 2022 in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Townsend entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, with a one-year gun specification. He faces a maximum of four years in prison. Judge Greg Howard set sentencing for Nov. 15.

The plea comes less than a week after co-defendant Jordan Spain pleaded guilty to first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter with a three year gun specification. Spain was 14 when he fired into the car hitting Garcia-Tovar in the back of the head causing the fatal wound, according to prosecutors.

Howard set Spain’s sentencing for Nov. 1. He faces a maximum of 14 years in prison — a mandatory three years for using a gun in the offense and up to 11 years for involuntary manslaughter.

According to prosecutors, the fatal shooting was part of a drug deal and robbery plot.

Garcia-Tovar and three others drove to the 7500 block of Wildbranch Road in the Tyler’s Creek Townhomes for a drug deal, with the back seat passengers believing it would be a robbery of the people purchasing drugs. Prosecutor Brad Burress said one back seat passenger was carrying a gun that was inoperable.

Spain and others, including Townsend, approached the vehicle, there were words exchanged, and Spain and Townsend opened fire on the car.

Garcia-Tovar was driving away when she was hit in the head with a round fired by Spain’s 9mm firearm.

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

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

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