Prosecutors argue to keep evidence in case of slain 15-year-old Dayton student

Jackeem Alexander Collins

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Jackeem Alexander Collins

Montgomery County prosecutors are asking a judge to allow them to use statements made by a then 18-year-old accused in the deadly shooting of a 15-year-old Dayton high school student.

Jackeem Collins, of Mason, now 19, is charged in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court with murder, felonious assault and weapon charges in connection to the shooting death of Qua’Lek Shelton. Collins has pleaded not guilty, and his defense team has asked a judge to bar the use of statements made by Collins to police during interrogations.

The defense has argued in court documents that Collins didn’t waive his rights before speaking with authorities.

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A hearing on the motion took place earlier this month, and prosecutors filed a memorandum this week asking the judge to allow them to use the statements.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, the defendant voluntarily waived his Miranda rights on both dates at the Safety Building while speaking to detectives,” the state wrote in the memorandum. “The conduct of law enforcement officials did not overbear the accused’s will to resist and bring about confessions not freely determined.”

Prosecutors allege that on Feb. 16, Collins shot a handgun six times into a group of young teenagers who gathered at the corner of Catalpa Drive and Sunnyview Avenue. Prosecutors said he shot randomly into the group and killed Shelton, a rising track star. The shots also wounded a 16-year-old boy, prosecutors said.

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Qua’Lek Shelton, center, who died in February 2020 after being shot on Catalpa Drive, was a national champion runner. He is pictured here with his relay teammates, at left, Mason Louis and a right, Daishuan Gossett. CONTRIBUTED

Qua’Lek Shelton, center, who died in February 2020 after being shot on Catalpa Drive, was a national champion runner. He is pictured here with his relay teammates, at left, Mason Louis and a right, Daishuan Gossett. CONTRIBUTED

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Qua’Lek Shelton, center, who died in February 2020 after being shot on Catalpa Drive, was a national champion runner. He is pictured here with his relay teammates, at left, Mason Louis and a right, Daishuan Gossett. CONTRIBUTED

Prosecutors said in court documents filed earlier this year that during interviews with police, Collins confessed to the shooting.

“The defendant completely denied any involvement in his first interview and attempted to offer an alibi,” the court document says. “He was interviewed a second time when he admitted to being the shooter. He gave detailed information to the detectives as to how and why he shot into this group (who were unarmed and approximately 300 feet away from him).”

Prosecutors in their filing this week said that Collins’ statements should be allowed.

“Defense will argue that bringing up the defendant’s brother’s death was praying on his emotions and that any statements he made were induced by that tactic,” the court filing says. “The defendant is an adult male (18 years old). There is absolutely no evidence that the defendant’s will was overborne,” the document says.

“The length of the interview was reasonable (54 minutes with a break). The interview was not as intense as the defense would suggest. There is no evidence of any physical deprivation or mistreatment at all. There is no evidence of duress or coercion. There were no threats or promises made to the defendant.”

The court document also says that Collins admitted to shooting the gun to members of his family.

An attorney for Collins, Thomas Manning, has requested a one-week extension to file his defense memorandum for disallowing the statements.

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