LIMA — An Allen County Juvenile Court jury deliberated for four hours Thursday before returning guilty verdicts against a Lima teenager on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence in the 2020 shooting death of a Lima man.
Jordan Daniel, 17, faces an indeterminate number of years behind bars when he is sentenced at a later date, following a pre-sentence investigation.
He will be held by the Ohio Department of Youth Services until he reaches the age of 21. At that time, as a Serious Youthful Offender, DYS officials will determine if he has been sufficiently rehabilitated or if he will be transferred to the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to serve more time.
A new law enacted in Ohio this year bans mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles. Juveniles sentenced for homicide crimes will be eligible for parole after serving 25 or 30 years, depending on the offense.
Daniel was one of two young Lima men charged with shooting Danielle Jackson, 44, during a robbery attempt behind Pappy’s Lounge in Lima. Jackson died hours after being shot — once in the chest, once in the abdomen and twice in the back — in the early morning hours of Jan. 20, 2020.
The other suspect in Jackson’s death, Ja’naz Smith, is being tried as an adult. Both Daniel and Smith were 15 years of age at the time of the shooting.
During a recorded interview with Lima Police Department Detective Todd Jennings that was played for jurors on Wednesday, Daniel admitted shooting Jackson. He said Smith initiated the incident.
“We was just walking and he (Smith) saw the dude and walked up to him,” Daniel told Jennings during the interview. “I was with him. When he shot, I really didn’t want to shoot. I had a revolver and I did shoot once or twice,” the teenager said. “I wasn’t thinking.”
Daniel said he used a .22 caliber revolver to shoot Jackson. Two .22 bullet fragments were removed from Jackson’s body during the autopsy of his body. Both bullets had entered the man’s back.
Defense attorney Jeremy Dodgion told jurors during his closing arguments there was no evidence of a robbery attempt by his client. The aggravated robbery charge is a pre-requisite for conviction on the aggravated murder charge.
Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney John Willamowski Jr. found the argument “kind of interesting.”
“Either he (Daniel) robbed Mr. Jackson or he had no reason at all to shoot Mr. Jackson. The defendant is either a robber or a cold-blooded killer,” Willamowski told jurors.