Teen sentenced to 24 months for involvement in Liberty Twp. park shootout

HAMILTON — A Cincinnati teen was sentenced to 24 months in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a gun specification for his role in a June shootout at a Liberty Twp. park. His sentence for the aggravated assault was 12 months, and a gun specification added 12 more months to the sentence.

Romel Velasquez, 18, earlier pleaded guilty to shooting Zyquon Moody of Hamilton, who allegedly shot and killed 18-year-old Antaun Hill Jr., during the June 10 incident in Liberty Park.

He faced up to 18 months in prison for the fourth-degree felony and an additional one year for using a gun in the commission of the crime. Judge Jennifer McElfresh sentenced him to 12 months, according to court documents.

He was charged shortly after the shooting with murder, but that charge was dismissed when the investigation pointed to Moody as the person who allegedly killed Hill.

A Butler County grand jury had indicted Velasquez for second-degree felonious assault, but that charge was lowered to aggravated assault in exchange for the guilty plea.

Velasquez has been held in the Butler County Jail since June in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

In June during arraignment, Velasquez’s attorney, David Washington, said his client “shot the shooter.”

Washington had said if what investigators said happened that night is true — that Moody fired the shot that killed Hill and Velasquez shot Moody — then Velasquez probably stopped “a bigger problem,” more gun violence that night in the park.

Velasquez confessed he had a gun and made a choice to go to this “zone of danger” with that gun after a social media announcement about a “big fight” going down, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said.

Moody remains housed in the Butler County Jail in lieu of a $1 million bond awaiting trial in December. He is charged with murder and two counts of felonious assault.

In addition to Hill and Moody, Zyshaun Johnson, 19, of Cincinnati, was also shot, but he recovered.

Hill, a Fairfield High School graduate, planned to play football at Independence Community College in Kansas.

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