New trial date set for Dayton man accused of killing Mansfield couple, fetus

MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL

A legal battle about evidence against a Dayton man accused of killing a Mansfield couple and the woman’s unborn baby has delayed until June a jury trial that was supposed to start this week.

Larry Rodgers, 32, is charged in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, felonious assault and having weapons while under disability. He’s pleaded not guilty and is incarcerated in the Montgomery County Jail on $1 million bond.

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Rodgers is accused of killing Kyla Hayton, 20, and her boyfriend Todd Burkhart, 28, both of Mansfield. Hayton was pregnant at the time, and Rodgers is facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter because the killings “caused the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy,” court records say.

The slayings occurred in November 2019. The couple was found in different houses on West Stewart Street.

Kyla Horton and Todd Burkhart
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Kyla Horton and Todd Burkhart

In a motion to continue the trial, the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office said it needed time to review a PowerPoint presentation about a cell phone in the case that was supplied to them by prosecutors. The defense also notes that another phone is a subject in a motion to suppress evidence and that motion has not been ruled on.

The defense filed a motion to suppress nearly a year ago, and a number of court documents have been filed in connection to that request since. The defense is asking for several aspects of the prosecutor’s case to be suppressed, including statements made by Rodgers to police and evidence collected during a search of a home.

Prosecutors have filed responses to the motions detailing Dayton Police’s investigation into the killings and arguing that police acted properly investigating the matter.

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The court documents say that authorities believe the couple traveled to Dayton to buy a gun. They said Rodgers was connected to the crime because of the nickname “Backwoods” and the pair were traveling to meet up with a person with a Facebook name of “Backwoods on Wildwood.”

Wildwood Avenue intersects with West Stewart Street, and Rodgers is connected with multiple properties on Wildwood Avenue, prosecutors said in court filings.

Rodgers is due back in court on June 7 for a final pre-trial hearing, and a trial is set to begin on June 28.