LIMA — A Lima man who had previously been unidentified by authorities as the get-away driver in a Shawnee drug deal that left one man dead and three others in jail on Thursday accepted a deal that allowed him to spend one day in jail and pay a $500 fine.
Gregory Brown, 21, was indicted by an Allen County grand jury in May on charges of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and a misdemeanor charge of attempted possession of drugs. He has been identified as the get-away driver in the drug deal gone bad that ended in the death of Damare Oliphant outside an apartment on Cam Court in Shawnee.
On Thursday he entered a plea of guilty to the misdemeanor charge of attempted possession of drugs in exchange for the state’s dismissal of all remaining charges. Brown was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 89 suspended, and will serve one year on probation.
Three Lima men have been sentenced to prison for their roles in the shooting death of Oliphant and another was sentenced to probation.
Gavin Lauck, 20, was sentenced in April to 18 years to life in prison for murder. Collin Dysert, 20, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his participation in the drug deal that ended in Oliphant’s death. Dalton J. Duncan, 20, of Lima, pleaded guilty to a related kidnapping charge, a first-degree felony, and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Juergen Waldick issued a statement addressing Brown’s role in the drug deal.
“This defendant drove Oliphant along with another individual to Cam Court for the purchase of drugs. When the attempted theft of the drugs took place (Brown) along with another passenger in the car ran back to the defendant’s car and drove away,” the prosecutor said.
“Under the felony/misdemeanor homicide rule a defendant can be held to varying degrees criminally responsible for the death of anyone involved in a crime even if that defendant did not directly cause the death,” Waldick said.
“Complicity holds everyone responsible for a criminal incident if they only aid, abet or encourage the principle offender. As prosecutors we are charged with prosecuting defendants that have committed crimes and we are also charged with administering justice proportionate with the degree of blame. That proportionality of blame in this case has resulted in the following convictions and sentences: Aaron Spivey — a neighbor that hid the murder weapon after the shooting was found guilty of tampering with evidence and sentenced to community control.”
“Although there was some evidence that indicated that this defendant (Brown) had prior knowledge of the planned robbery, ultimately his level of culpability was far below that of any of the defendants outlined earlier.
“Ultimately, the takeaway from this shooting is that there is a very fine line between accomplice and bystander. The law can hold you responsible for the actions of the people that you are with and if you think that criminal activity is taking place remove yourself from that activity otherwise you may be held to answer for whatever happens along the way,” the prosecutor said.