LIMA — Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed on Monday took into account Dalton Duncan’s minimal involvement and “substantial” mitigating circumstances in the 2017 shooting death of Damere Oliphant outside a Shawnee apartment complex and handed the 20-year-old Lima man the minimum allowable prison sentence.
Duncan was sentenced to three years in prison on a first-degree felony charge of kidnapping, with a one-year mandatory sentence for the use of a firearm during the commission of the crime to be served prior to the three-year term. He pleaded guilty to that charge last month as part of a negotiated deal with prosecutors.
Duncan, who has been behind bars for more than a year in the Allen County jail, will be eligible for early release after serving six months in prison. Reed told the young Lima man, who sobbed frequently during Monday’s hearing, that such a request would be considered by the court.
Assistant prosecuting attorney Kyle Thines called Oliphant’s death a “senseless tragedy” and “another case where drugs and death go hand-in-hand.”
Duncan’s attorney, Zachary Maisch, asked the court for leniency on behalf of his client. Maisch said Duncan “was not involved in setting up the drug transaction” that ultimately led to Oliphant’s death, adding that his client’s only role in the incident was to briefly push the victim to impede him from leaving the premises prior to the shooting.
“This is something that never should have happened,” Duncan told the court. “I never know it was going to happen and I never wanted it to happen. I didn’t know what to do, your honor. I was frankly scared. I had no clue Gavin (co-defendant Lauck) was gonna do what he was going to do.
“I’m not a bad guy. Please, sir, I’m not a bad guy,” Duncan told Reed.
Dalton was indicted by an Allen County grand jury on charges that included murder and involuntary manslaughter in the March 27, 2017 shooting death of Oliphant. Two of his co-defendants faced identical charges.
Gavin Lauck, 20, the trigger-man in the shooting death was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison on a charge of murder. Collin Dysert, 20, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his participation in the drug deal that ended in Oliphant’s death.
A fourth Lima man has been indicted by an Allen County grand jury on involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with Oliphant’s death. Gregory Brown, 21, has been identified as the get-away driver in the drug deal gone. He was initially indicted nearly a year ago but eluded police until his arrest in December.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.