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Teen admits guilt in fatal Middletown shooting involving family members

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Aerial scenes of Central Ave business district downtown Middletown

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A 16-year-old has admitted guilt in the shooting death of a Middletown man during a dispute over money in May at a Yankee Road residence

Jaiquan Singletary, 16, who is being tried as an adult, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a bill of information Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Singletary was originally charged with murder, and his case was bound over from juvenile court to adult court last week. A bill of information is a waiver of grand jury indictment and an agreement on the charge.

Singletary was accused in the shooting death of John Booker on May 13.

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Singletary faces a maximum of 11 years in prison plus an additional three years for using a gun. Judge Noah Powers II set sentencing for Aug. 10.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he could not comment at length about the case until after sentencing, but pointed to the facts the developed as the reason for the plea.

“We start with the principle charge that is within the probability and then we work from that to whether proof beyond a reasonable doubt is achievable and what is in the interest of justice with regard to the facts of the case,” Gmoser said. “In this particular case the element of purpose was less than certain with respect to reasonable doubt, however the criminality of pulling the trigger in a case like this matched very well.”

Middletown police say the teen shot Booker, 36, in a dispute over $10.

Police were called at 7:44 p.m. on May 13 to the 1400 block of Yankee Road, where they found Booker seriously injured from gunfire. He was taken to a local hospital, where he later died.

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Booker’s mother called 911 and told dispatchers Booker has been shot. Police said Booker took $10 from a shelf in the home his mother shared with co-defendant Dhameer Haamid Scott’s father, which started the argument that led to the shooting. Scott was originally charged with murder, but that charge was later amended to complicity to murder.

Further investigation led police to request the juvenile take a lie detector test, which he failed, police said. The teen was then charged with murder.

Singletary’s attorney, Lawrence Hawkins III, said his client has strong family support.

“I think it is a reasonable resolution based on the totality of the circumstances,” Hawkins said. “The young man is 16 years old, the circumstances that were taking place between the other parties that are involved, I think it is a good resolution for him.”

Police say Scott is charged because he allegedly gave the gun to the teen and they fled out of state together.

Scott, 24, waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and his case was sent directly to a grand jury for consideration. He is free on bond.

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