Man involved in 2016 shooting outside Roosters restaurant sentenced on related weapons charge

The former Dayton man once considered for homicide charges after a December 2016 shooting left one person dead was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison — below the statutory 10-year mandatory minimum due to substantial assistance.

William Martin, 25, learned his fate in Dayton’s U.S. District Court after reaching a plea deal last year on a federal weapons charge related to a drug transaction. Martin also was ordered to undergo five years’ supervised release including 100 hours of community service or job training.

Martin earned about four months’ jail-time credit for his time being held in the Montgomery County Jail. Martin will be allowed to self-surrender when he is told when and where to report.

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U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice said case law did not permit him to consider many factors beyond substantial assistance, which the judge said was not significant. Federal had prosecutors argued that Martin should serve “significant” time in prison.

“I think it’s a fair sentence,” said assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi, who had argued for a significant term. “This is case is a tragedy all the way around.”

Martin fired a gun at Leo Montgomery III and Evon Walker in a car outside the Roosters Restaurant on North Main Street on Dec. 2, 2016, according to Dayton police. Montgomery, 21, died. Walker was injured but survived.

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Court records indicate Martin fired in self-defense and that Montgomery and Walker planned a robbery of marijuana that Martin was to sell.

Martin had been considered for homicide charges in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, but the prosecutor’s office said Martin’s state case was terminated March 7, 2017, without being reviewed by a three-prosecutor panel in favor of the federal charge.

Rice said the different versions of events told to investigators by Walker and Martin — plus text messages that revealed a possible planned robbery — meant that a homicide charge was never going to be prosecuted due to not having evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Defense attorney John Rion said it was “unfair” for Walker not be prosecuted like Martin for the same crime, bringing a weapon to a drug transaction. Montgomery County prosecutors have not announced any planned prosecution of Walker.

Rion and co-counsel Jon Paul Rion said in court that their client has been threatened by alleged gang members associated with Walker with pictures showing weapons. Martin had identified Walker as a member of the “Off-Main” street gang, according to a Dayton police detective’s criminal complaint and affidavit.

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“In response to their efforts to rob him, Mr. Martin shot and killed one of his customers and wounded the other,” Tabacchi wrote in sentencing memorandum. “Although Mr. Martin — like any person — should not have been subjected to an attempted heist, he — unlike a law abiding citizen — set in motion these events.

“He, in fact, brought a gun with him for the very purpose that he used it — to protect himself in the event someone attempted to forcibly take his illegal product.”

In a sentencing memo, the defense argued that Martin could “aid in prosecuting another individual associated with gang violence” including murder, felonious assault and aggravated robbery. The defense argued Martin and his family could be in great danger of violence from a gang.

Martin said Tuesday that he takes “full responsibility for my actions” and that he “reacted to save my life.” The defendant also said that no matter the sentence, he is rehabilitating himself to become “a better person.”

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