A Kettering teen will begin his prison sentence in the coming days for the 2016 fatal shooting of a Fairmont High School student in a case court officials have called rare.
A judge on Thursday imposed a previously stayed 11-year prison term for Kylen Gregory. The 19-year-old Gregory admitted to shooting Ronnie Bowers on a Kettering street when both were 16 in a case that went back and forth between juvenile and adult court for more than three years.
Defense attorneys say they expect to file an appeal, but prosecutors said they think the prison sentence – which subtracts Gregory’s 1,201 days in juvenile detention – will be upheld on any appeal.
“This was a well-litigated case, and the judges made thorough findings,” Montgomery County Assistant Prosecutor Lynda Dodd said. “This was a solid Kettering Police Department investigation. We’re confident that everything will stand…”
Dodd called Thursday a conclusion for Bowers’ family. Members “know the defendant is being sentenced as an adult and….have some time to reflect on Ronnie’s life and not the day of his death.”
The sentencing imposed by Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Montgomery was the same one handed down earlier this year by Judge Dennis Langer, who is now retired.
Montgomery’s decision followed a Dec. 4 ruling by juvenile court Judge Anthony Capizzi that Gregory was not amenable to rehabilitation in that system.
“Today brought no surprises,” defense attorney Jon Paul Rion said. “After the amenability hearing, we all knew that if Judge Capizzi did not keep the case, then that sentence would be re-imposed. And that’s exactly what happened.”
The defense has 30 days to file a notice on an appeal, co-counsel Ben Swift said, and any decision to go that route will be up to Gregory’s family.
But “I believe Kylen was amenable to stay in juvenile court,” Swift said, noting that may be one avenue for appeal.
Gregory’s is only one of a few Montgomery County juvenile cases to go to adult court, return to juvenile and then go back to adult since November 2012, officials said. During that time, at least 88 juvenile cases have been bound over to adult court, records show.
Gregory and Bowers did not know each other when the defendant said he fired a gun at the victim’s fleeing car on Willowdale Avenue Sept. 4, 2016, after a confrontation that started earlier at AlterFest.
Gregory’s case initially went from juvenile court to the adult system because he was charged with murder, among many other counts.
But he was not convicted of that charge, which returned the case to juvenile court, where Capizzi’s recent ruling stated “this court does not feel that 15 months is sufficient time to rehabilitate” Gregory.
Capizzi’s ruling came after a hearing in October and more than a year after a jury convicted Gregory of reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of Bowers, Kettering’s first gun-related homicide since 2007.
After a series of hearings, Capizzi transferred the case to adult court in July 2017 and a $1 million bond was set.
At his trial in November 2018, Gregory testified he — without provocation from Bowers — aimed a stolen, loaded gun and fired at the victim’s car on Willowdale as Bowers and his friends sought to flee. The shot was intended to scare the group, Gregory said.
Authorities said the shot hit Bowers in the head as he was sitting in the driver’s seat, and two days later he died from the wound.
In adult court, Gregory was indicted on two counts of murder, five counts of felonious assault and other charges. The jury found him guilty of reckless homicide and a gun-related charge, but was deadlocked on the felonious assault counts.
Facing a retrial on the felonious assault charges, Gregory this past spring pleaded guilty to those counts in a deal that came with a lighter sentence than he would have faced if convicted by a jury.
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