LIMA — Collin Dysert, one of three young Lima men charged in the 2017 shooting death of Damere Oliphant outside an apartment complex on Cam Court in Shawnee, had plenty to say in court Monday immediately prior to being sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with Oliphant’s murder.
So, too, did the judge hearing the case. Prior to passing sentence, Allen County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Reed said he is “really getting tired of sentencing people for homicides.” Reed sadly conceded, however, that “when young people get mixed up with drugs and guns, people are going to die.”
Dysert was the first of the three co-defendants to accept a deal from prosecutors in connection with the March 27, 2017 shooting death of Oliphant. Gavin R. Lauck, 20, and Dalton Duncan, 20,both of Lima, are also charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, trafficking in drugs and kidnapping — all with firearm specifications — in connection with the incident.
Dysert, 21, in January accepted a deal from prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter, first-degree felonies, with a specification that a firearm was used in the commission of the crimes. In exchange for that plea, the state agreed to dismiss the murder charge and an additional charge of trafficking in drugs. As part of that deal, prosecutors recommended a prison sentence of four years on the kidnapping charge, eight years on the involuntary manslaughter count and a mandatory three-year sentence for the firearm specification.
Reed followed that recommendation to the letter during Monday’s sentencing hearing.
After Defense Attorney Greg Donohue and Allen County Prosecuting Attorney offered contrasting versions of the events of that March 2017 evening to the court during Monday’s hearing, Dysert was given the opportunity to speak.
“I was there. I know the real story,” said the defendant. He admitted setting up a drug deal whereby he was to sell “pills” to Oliphant after a day he had spent drinking, smoking marijuana and using cocaine for the first time.
Dysert told Reed he had purchased the AK-47 rifle that was used to kill Oliphant at Dunham’s Sports some three weeks earlier, and said the gun was in the hands of Lauck when Oliphant was shot and killed. Duncan was upstairs in the apartment when the drug deal got out of hand, Dysert said.
Lauck is charged with a second count of murder with a gun. His final pre-trial hearing is scheduled for today with a jury trial set to begin March 27. The next court appearance for Dalton is scheduled for April 9.
Lauck and Dalton face life in prison if convicted on the most serious of the charges against them.
Before leaving the courtroom Monday, Donohue asked the judge if Dysert would hold his infant daughter for a few moments before being taken away. Reed asked Oliphant’s mother, who was in the courtroom, if she had the opportunity to hug her son one last time before he died.
She said she did not, but nonetheless asked the judge to allow the defendant to hold his young daughter. “It’s important that little girl gets the opportunity to bond with him,” she said.
The judge complimented the woman on her compassion.