Man convicted of murder in deaths of Mansfield couple, unborn child

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

A Dayton man was found guilty of murder Thursday in the November 2019 shooting deaths of a Mansfield couple and their unborn child.

Larry Dwayne Rodgers, 33, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court after he was convicted on all charges and specifications, including 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.

Kyla Hayton, 21, and her boyfriend Todd Burkhart, 28, 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 at the time that 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.

The involuntary manslaughter charges were because the shooting death of Hayton “cause[d] the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy,” prosecutors 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.

However, Rodgers was not indicted in the deaths until March 2020. Multiple delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and motions filed in the case pushed the trial to this month.

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