Second man sent to prison for 2018 fatal shooting of teen girl in Fairfield Twp.

A second man was sent to prison Wednesday for the shooting death of Hamilton’s Sydney Garcia-Tovar in the summer of 2018.

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 in Fairfield Twp. He has been held in the Butler County Jail since January 2022 in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

In October, Townsend entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, with a one-year gun specification. He faced a maximum of four years in prison, and that is what Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard gave him.

Howard sentenced Townsend to 36 months for involuntary manslaughter and 12 months for using a gun in the commission of a crime. But Townsend was given jail credit for 619 days served awaiting the outcome of the case so he will serve about 27 more months in prison.

The sentencing came two weeks after co-defendant, Jordan Spain, was sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter with a three year gun specification. Spain was 14 when he fired into the car hitting 16-year-old Garcia-Tovar in the back of the head, causing the fatal wound.

The fatal shooting was part of a drug deal and robbery plot that resulted in both Spain and Townsend firing into the car Garcia-Tovar was driving, according to prosecutors.

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, his older brother and Townsend approached the vehicle with fake money to make the purchase. 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.

Townsend apologized to the Garcia-Tovar family before sentencing saying during his time behind bars has he as adopted a “new mindset” to make smarter decisions.

“To the family, I am truly sorry for your loss. I hope you can understand it was never my intention to be ill or nefarious. Nothing I can ever say or do can reverse the decisions made,” Townsend said, adding he is not a monster. “I was a foolish kid who made a lot of bad decisions and everyday I do my best to prove to everybody I am not the person I used to be.”

Stephanie Garcia-Tovar, Sydney’s mother, was in the front row but did not speak before sentencing.

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

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