Prosecutors say a Kettering teen who pleaded guilty to his role in the shooting death of a Fairmont High School student should serve more than three decades in prison.
The defendant’s supporters are requesting mercy.
Kylen Gregory should be sentenced to “no less than a 35-year term” after admitting to firing a gun in the shooting death of Ronnie Bowers in 2016, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said in documents filed last week.
Attorneys for Gregory, 19, don’t specify a recommended punishment for their client, who in April pleaded guilty to five lesser felonious assault charges than he would have been retried on in the fatal shooting of the 16-year-old Bowers.
Attorney Jon Paul Rion asked the court to “consider the positive words of support” in more than a dozen letters “and impose a sentence which accomplishes the overriding goals of felony sentencing.”
Gregory is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday. Judge Dennis Langer said at Gregory’s plea hearing his punishment could range could range from six to 44 years in prison.
Bowers died Sept. 6, 2016 in what was Kettering’s first gun-related homicide since 2007.
“This was a senseless killing and it was not a spur of the moment reaction,” Assistant Prosecutor Lynda Dodd stated in a 16-page sentencing recommendation.
“Rather, this homicide was the result of bad decision, after bad decision made by the defendant as he armed himself with a stolen firearm, loaded the gun, held that gun loaded close at hand while his buddies stalked their victims, and ultimately the defendant raised the gun and fired directly at Ronnie Bowers’ car as the victims tried to flee,” the prosecution’s filing states.
“Nothing can be done to bring Ronnie back to his friends and family, but a substantial prison sentence would provide justice for those whose lives are empty now that Ronnie was taken from them so gruesomely,” according to Dodd’s filing.
A jury in November convicted Gregory of reckless homicide and discharging a firearm on or near a prohibited premise. The jury was deadlocked on murder charges and five felonious assault counts.
Gregory’s guilty pleas to lesser felonious assault charges came shortly before he was scheduled to be retried on those counts May 13.
After the sentencing, that ruling will be stayed and the case be returned to juvenile court because Gregory was not convicted of murder – the charge that caused the transfer of the case to adult court, Langer has said.
Juvenile court may decide to keep Gregory in custody until he is 21 or return the case to adult court, Langer said.
Gregory testified in November that he fired a shot a Bowers’ car as the victim and three others sought to flee on Willowdale.
The shot, which Gregory said he fired to send “a signal,” wounded Bowers in the head and later caused his death, witnesses said.
It was the second time that night Bowers’ group tried to get away from a dispute involving Gregory’s friends, according to court testimony.
The disputes did not directly involve either Bowers or Gregory, according to court testimony.
Gregory has been in juvenile detention since hours after the Sept. 4, 2016. He has been held on a $1 million bond.
“There are no words that can undo or change this tragedy,” Rion wrote in his sentencing memorandum.
He asked Langer to consider Gregory’s “age, his clouded judgment, and the lack of purpose he had to cause harm that night.
“Mr. Gregory has accepted responsibility for his actions….Mr. Gregory is genuinely remorseful and sorry for all that has occurred,” according to Rion’s filing.
About 15 letters of support were part of Rion’s filing. Many of them expressed condolences or sorrow for Bowers’ death and asked Langer for compassion and mercy in the sentencing.
“I am asking you to please consider compassion and mercy as it relates to being lenient with the punishment Kylen will receive,” according to a letter from teacher and Pastor Bernadine W. Smith of Dayton.
Some of Gregory’s supporters said they have known his family for decades. Paul Thompson of Dayton said it is “a family of the highest morals and values.”
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