Man receives life sentence for fatal shooting of Middletown teen

A Middletown man has received a life prison sentence for shooting a teen to death in December.

Mezahn Demarco Amison, 22, was found guilty of murder and felonious assault last month for the slaying of Zachariah Wallace following a 2 1/2-day trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court. The jury returned the verdict after less than three hours of deliberation.

On Thursday, Judge Jennifer McElfresh sentenced Amision to life in prison with the possibility for parole after 18 years. He received a mandatory 15 years-to-life sentence for the murder charge and another three years for the use of a firearm in the crime. The felonious assault charge was merged.

The trial was the first in the county since March, and a courtroom was outfitted for coronavirus safety.

Wallace, 17, was shot in both legs, an arm and his chest on the night of Dec. 6, 2019.

When police were called to the area of Casper Avenue and Iglehart Street about 6:30 p.m., they found Wallace’s girlfriend trying to render aid to the teen who was on the sidewalk. Wallace was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Wallace’s 17-year-old girlfriend had known Amison for several years and referred to him by his street nickname “AF.” The couple had had some problems with Amison in the days leading up to the shooting, according to Assistant County Prosecutor Brad Burress. He said they included Amison breaking into a house and stealing some items, with some gunshots exchanged.

On the night of Wallace’s death, he and his girlfriend walked from Crawford Street to a friend’s house on Manchester Avenue. That route took them past Amision’s house.

A car pulled up, and Amison jumped out, according to prosecutors and witnesses.

The girlfriend said she heard Amison say, “Ya’all thought this was over.”

“She saw a gun in (Amison’s) hand, and that is when she yelled for Zach to run,” Burress said during the trial.

Defense attorney John Kaspar said the facts of the case were “awful” and a young man lost his life, but added his client was innocent.

Kaspar pointed to evidence presented at trial that others were in the car as it approached Wallace when the shooting happened.

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