An inmate in Ohio’s Mansfield Correctional Institution accused of killing a 16-year-old in 2018 pled not guilty Wednesday in a Butler County courtroom.
Markeylnd Townsend, 22, of Hamilton, is charged with 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 as a result of the gunshot.
Joseph Goolsby, 21, of Hamilton, was a passenger in the vehicle and has recovered from his wounds.
Townsend was transferred late Tuesday from Mansfield Correctional Institution, a state prison, to the Butler County Jail for his Wednesday court appearance. His attorney, Clyde Bennett, told Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Howard he pleads not guilty.
Garcia-Tovar’s mother, Stephanie Garcia-Tovar, said 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 last month said, “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 have been looking into Townsend for about a year before last month’s indictment.
Bennett asked the next court appearance be set for 30 to 45 days later as he intends to file a discovery motion. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brad Burress said, “There’s quite a bit of discovery.”
Howard set Townsend’s next court appearance for 8:30 a.m. June 30, and his bond for $500,000.
Howard remanded Townsend back to Mansfield Correctional, at Bennett’s request, where he is serving a three-year term for 2018 aggravated robbery, unrelated to the slaying of Garcia-Tovar.
In that 2018 case out of Hamilton, Townsend was charged two weeks after Garcia-Tovar’s death. According to court records, Townsend took money and marijuana from the victim but claimed the victim stole from him. He was attempting to take the items back from the victim when a witness saw the crime. Townsend attempted to hit the victim with a handgun, according to the 2018 Hamilton police report.
According to prison records, Townsend was sentenced in April 2019, and that term ends in March 2022.
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