LIMA — Gavin Lauck will be sentenced next month to a mandatory prison term of 18 years to life after pleading guilty Tuesday to murder in the 2017 shooting death of Damere Oliphant.
The 20-year-old Lima man appeared in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday for a final pre-trial hearing ahead of his scheduled March 27 jury trial. During that hearing, Lauck — described by police, prosecutors and at least one co-defendant as being the one who pulled the trigger of an AK-47 rifle used to kill Oliphant — accepted a deal offered by prosecutors.
A grand jury charged Lauck with two counts of murder, involuntary manslaughter, trafficking in drugs and kidnapping — all with firearm specifications — for his role in Oliphant’s death. In exchange for his guilty plea to a single murder charge, an unspecified felony with a three-year firearm specification, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining counts.
While Judge Jeffrey Reed will formally sentence Lauck on April 16, the judge said during Tuesday’s hearing that the mandatory sentence of 15-years-to-life on the murder charge, to be served following a mandatory three-year sentence on the firearm specification, is set in stone under Ohio law.
Lauck was one of three young men charged in Oliphant’s death and the second to plead guilty. On Monday, co-defendant Collin Dysert, 20, received a 15-year prison sentence for his participation in a drug deal that ended in Oliphant’s death outside an apartment on Cam Court in Shawnee Township. The third man charged, 20-year-old Dalton Duncan, is next scheduled in court on April 9.
During his sentencing hearing, Dysert identified Lauck as the trigger-man in the March 27, 2017, shooting outside an apartment in Shawnee.
According to court records, Oliphant was shot once in the torso and reportedly walked a short distance after he was shot before he collapsed near a closed Taco Bell. Lauck, Dysert and Duncan were arrested at Dysert’s apartment at 111 Cam Court. Detectives previously said they obtained confessions from the men and that the rifle used in the shooting had been recovered.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.