Attorney for man charged in teen’s 2018 shooting death says right violated, statements should be thrown out

The attorney for a Hamilton man charged with murder in the 2018 shooting death of a 16-year-old girl has filed a motion to suppress statements he made to police.

Markeylnd Townsend, 22, of Hamilton, 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.

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Markeylnd Townsend, 22, charged with murder in the 2018 death of Sydney Garcia-Tovar, 16, of Hamilton, in Fairfield Twp.
Markeylnd Townsend, 22, charged with murder in the 2018 death of Sydney Garcia-Tovar, 16, of Hamilton, in Fairfield Twp.

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Townsend, who is in prison serving a sentence for aggravated robbery not related to the slaying, was in Butler County Common Pleas Court last week for a pre-trial hearing.

His attorney, Clyde Bennett, said in a motion that Townsend’s constitution rights were violated by detectives during question and his statements should not be permitted at trial.

“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 wrote in the motion.

On Friday, prosecutors had not yet filed a response.

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Townsend is scheduled to be back in court July 28 for another pretrial hearing. Judge Greg Howard set Townsend’s bond at $500,000.

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

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Garcia-Tovar’s mother, Stephanie Garcia-Tovar, said that while she’s happy the case is before a judge after years of waiting, “It’s not as quick as I want it to be.”

She told the Journal-News after Townsend was indicted, “It’s like going back to the very beginning. The whole thing has taken a toll on me mentally, emotionally and physically.”

Fairfield Twp. Police Sgt. Brandon McCroskey told the Journal-News investigators had been investigating Townsend for about a year before the indictment.

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