Father charged after 2-year-old son’s shooting death: ‘My life is over’

A 2-year-old boy is dead in an accidental shooting, his teenage brother is charged with reckless homicide and the father is in custody on weapons violations.

Jvontae Johnston died Monday afternoon at his house, and his father, 34-year-old Jamahl Evans, reported the shooting to 911 and acknowledged the gun was his, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said.

“It’s unfortunate because (Evans) is a convicted felon and shouldn’t have a gun at all,” Plummer said.

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Investigators initially thought the child shot himself, but they later discovered the 13-year-old fired the weapon, Plummer said.

“My life is over,” Evans yelled while on the phone with 911 dispatch. “How did you find my —” Evans said, before gasping for breath.

Evans made an initial appearance Tuesday in Dayton’s federal court on one charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Plummer said Evans ran a drug operation out of the house on the 2500 block of Wheeler Avenue, a few blocks west of Miami Valley Golf Club. Investigators recovered two handguns and marijuana ready for distribution, Plummer said.

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The 13-year-old appeared before a magistrate in juvenile court Tuesday afternoon and had a plea of denial entered on his behalf. He will be appointed an attorney and has been ordered to stay in juvenile detention. He is scheduled to appear back in court later this month. The newspaper is not naming the accused child.

A neighbor said he was sitting inside his home Monday afternoon at the time of the shooting.

“I just heard a pop. I know it was a gunshot that went off, but I didn’t know where it came from,” Robert Ferguson said. “Then when I looked out the window, I saw police and the ambulance coming down the street.”

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice advised Evans of the charge and possible penalties. After a long sidebar following the hearing, Rice said that the complaint and affidavit was sealed and would remain so.

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Rice said the government is seeking pretrial detention and scheduled a hearing for Friday and a pretrial hearing for June 19. Evans said he understood the charge against him and would not be hiring his own attorney.

Rice informed Evans that being a felon in possession of a firearm has no minimum prison sentence but does have maximums of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, post-release supervision and weapons forfeiture.

Federal sentencing guidelines state a defendant with three or more convictions for felony crimes of violence could receive a minimum 15-year sentence. That guideline was not mentioned during Tuesday’s hearing.

Court records indicate Evans has felony convictions for having weapons under disability, complicity to attempted felonious assault and assault on a police officer. Federal prosecutors could not say if those met the standards for felony crimes of violence.

In September, Evans pleaded guilty to two felony counts of having weapons while under disability, one count was related to a prior violent offense, the other for a prior drug conviction, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of cocaine possession. Evans was sentenced to five years of community control and as part of his sanctions was required to surrender two guns.

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In April, Evans’ probation status was lowered from intensive to basic.

“During his period of intensive supervision, Jamahl Evans has made positive strides in working toward the completion of his sanctions of supervision,” said a court document ordering the modification.

In 2013, Evans pleaded guilty to two felony counts of assaulting a police officer and one count of possession of heroin. According to a Dayton police report, Evans ran from a traffic stop and threw punches at officers who tried to handcuff him. He was Tased several times during the struggle.

Correction: A prior version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Jvontae Johnston, the 2-year-old boy shot by his brother. Family members corrected the spelling initially given by authorities.

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