Dayton man gets life in prison for murder of Mansfield couple, unborn child

A Dayton man will spend the rest of this life in prison for the November 2019 shooting deaths of a Mansfield couple and their unborn child.

Larry Dwayne Rodgers, 33, was sentenced Friday to two consecutive life-in-prison sentences in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court for the deaths of Todd Burkhart, 28, and his girlfriend Kyla Hayton, 21, who was five months pregnant.

A jury on Jan. 28 found him guilty as charged to four counts of aggravated murder; four counts of murder; four counts of kidnapping; four counts of felonious assault; and two counts of involuntary manslaughter, each with a three-year gun specification. He also was found guilty of one count of having weapons while under disability for a prior offense of violence.

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Burkhart and Hayton were reported missing Nov. 16, 2019, from Mansfield. Relatives told Mansfield police they may have been trying to get a gun in Dayton for protection, a report stated.

Burkhart’s body was found Nov. 22, 2019, in a vacant West Stewart Street house in Dayton. Three days later, on Nov. 25, 2019, Hayton’s body was found with the help of cadaver dogs in a different vacant house on West Stewart Street. Hayton was five months pregnant, expecting a boy, family members said.

Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said Burkhart and Hayton were each shot in the head. Although Hayton was hit by multiple gunshots, her unborn child was not hit by bullets but died because Hayton died, the coroner said.

Rodgers was the sole person of interest in the case, Dayton police Lt. Jason Hall said after the deadly shootings.

He was arrested the day Burkhart’s body was found for having a weapon as a convicted felon.

As part of the police investigation into the homicides, detectives searched a Groveland Avenue house where they found a handgun determined to have been used to kill both victims, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Rodgers will not be eligible for parole consideration until he has spent at least 72 years in prison.

“This was a tragic and senseless homicide case that took the lives of two young adults and their unborn child. This defendant will now spend the rest of his life in prison,” Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said.

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