Trial date set for man charged in teen’s 2018 shooting death in Fairfield Twp.

Markeylnd Townsend BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
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Markeylnd Townsend BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Defense motion to suppress statements to detectives is denied.

A 2022 trial date has been set for a Hamilton man charged with murder in the 2018 shooting death of a 16-year-old girl.

Markeylnd Townsend, 22, was indicted in April for murder with a gun specification and felonious assault stemming from a July 2018 incident in Fairfield Twp. He is accused of firing a weapon into a car full of people driven by Sydney Garcia-Tovar, 16, of Hamilton, who died of a gunshot wound.

Townsend was in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Thursday where Judge Greg Howard set his trial to begin Jan. 18.

Howard also denied a motion filed by the defense to suppress Townsend’s statements to detectives at trial.

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His attorney, Clyde Bennett, said Townsend’s constitution rights were violated by detectives during questioning and his statements should not be permitted.

“In this case any statements made by the defendant were not voluntarily made and were taken in violation of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the statements were given without the benefit of legal counsel as guaranteed by Fifth and Sixth Amendments,” Bennett said.

Prosecutors argued that during the police interview with Townsend in September 2020 at Mansfield Correctional Institution, he was told on multiple occasions he didn’t have to say anything and was told several times he had the right to talk to a lawyer, every right to stop talking, and to remain silent.

“The entire interview lasted a little less than one hour. (Townsend) was permitted to call his mother, and the mother told him to stop talking and ask for a lawyer. The interview was terminated shortly thereafter,” Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress wrote in the motion.

The court documents also outline that forensics point to another person as the one who fired the gun that killed Garcia-Tovar.

Townsend agreed with detective statements that he and the accomplice were being robbed by people in the car that Garcia-Tovar was driving and shots were fired.

“They tried to rob us, y’all already know,” Townsend told the detectives. “(They) pulled a gun out on us.” Townsend did not tell detectives the name of the accomplice. According to court documents the shooting was part of a marijuana deal that went bad.

Townsend, who is in prison serving a sentence for aggravated robbery not related to the slaying, is also being held in lieu of $500,000 in the murder case,

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Sydney Garcia-Tovar, 16, was killed by a gunshot outside a Fairfield Twp. apartment complex in July 2018. PROVIDED/FILE
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Sydney Garcia-Tovar, 16, was killed by a gunshot outside a Fairfield Twp. apartment complex in July 2018. PROVIDED/FILE

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