Suspect in teen’s murder rejects plea deal

LIMA — Keion Darden, one of six Lima teenagers charged with murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in the June 2022 shooting death of 17-year-old Lima resident Jayden Halpern, on Friday rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors.

Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Thines placed on the official record the offer which called for Darden to plead guilty to a single count of murder. In exchange for that plea, Thines said, the state would dismiss all firearm specifications along with charges of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery.

Darden rejected the offer, which Thines said would remain open until 4:30 p.m. on April 3. A jury trial for Darden is scheduled to begin April 24.

Darden, 18, and Jaquan Glenn, 19, were indicted by a grand jury and are being tried as adults in Allen County Common Pleas Court on charges of murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in the June 10, 2022 incident that left Halpern dead.

Teenagers Kayrese Garner and Bryanna Houston are also being tried as adults in connection with Halpern’s death after their cases were bound over from Allen County Juvenile Court.

Juveniles Brianna Patrick and Roselyn Thomas-Lewis were also charged in the same incident and have been designated as Serious Youth Offenders. There cases will remain in the juvenile court system and hearings will be held at a later date.

The six suspects reportedly drove to Halpern’s residence on West Lane Avenue, where the females of the group attempted to lure Halpern outside in order to rob the home. When that failed, Darden and Glenn allegedly attempted to force their way into the home, where Halpern was believed to have a large number of guns and marijuana.

According to previous statements by Lima Police Department Detective Steve Stechschulte, Halpern’s father then shot at the males but struck his son, accidentally killing him.