Mixed results in Burse trial: Mistrial declared in shooting case

LIMA — A jury Monday found a Lima man guilty of drug possession and two counts of trafficking, but not guilty of another trafficking charge. A mistrial was declared on firearm charges, as the jury could not come to an agreement after deliberating for more than nine hours over two days.

Daquan Burse, 24, is now convicted of second-degree felony possession of a fentanyl-related compound, third-degree felony trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound and third-degree felony trafficking in heroin. His bond was revoked due to the mandatory imprisonment nature of the charges.

Burse was also charged with second-degree felony of improperly discharging a firearm at a habitation, third-degree felony of discharge of a firearm on or near a prohibited premise and second-degree felony of trafficking in heroin.

According to testimony during the trial, Burse was accused of firing a .22 caliber gun on North Collett Street, striking a Ford Fusion with three women inside on June 28, 2019. He was accused of retaliating for a shooting at his mother’s home two days earlier, in which Ki’Arius Gaddy — who had connections to the home the car was in front of on North Collett Street — was named a suspect.

Gaddy was cleared of suspicion.

Police suspected Burse in the June 28, 2019, shooting after one of the women in the car, Takela Florence, said she had seen Burse on the corner as the group was driving toward the driveway of a home on the street.

The car was hit by four bullets either right before the driver parked or immediately after, according to testimony. Florence was the only member of the group to see Burse, and the entire group testified that they did not see who fired the gun at them.

Lisa Brockman, a neighbor, testified that on the night of June 28, 2019, she heard a gunshot while she sat in her living room. She said she looked out her window and saw a Black male standing in the street wearing a white plaid shirt and white shorts.

Brockman told police that the man had braids and was about 5-foot-6 and skinny. According to arrest records, Burse is 5-foot 11 and 183 pounds. Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Josh Carp argued in closing arguments on Friday that height is a difficult characteristic to determine.

Burse confessed to the shooting in an interview with Lima Police Detective Steve Stechschulte after asking if he could be a confidential informant, to which the detective said he could not be trusted.

Burse testified on Thursday that he lied to the detective, telling him what he thought he “needed to hear” to release him as as confidential informant. Burse said he was addicted to opioids and was desperate to use again, willing to say anything to get out of jail.

Burse said that fentanyl use was expensive, so he began selling the drug to fund his habit. He was charged with trafficking after the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force set up three controlled drug buys with a confidential informant.

The informant gave police 4.93 grams of a substance that tested positive for fentanyl after the Feb. 3, 2020 transaction. The second was at least five grams and tested negative for controlled substances. The third was 24.45 grams that also tested negative for a controlled substance.

Text messages between the informant and Burse detail the first two drug transactions, but the third buy, for which Burse was exonerated, was allegedly planned in person.

A person can be convicted of drug trafficking without providing drugs to another individual if they offered to sell them a controlled substance.

Burse said he continued his habit, being arrested for drug possession after police took him into custody to sober up when he was found unconscious on a Lima resident’s porch. Police discovered two bags containing white substances on his person at the station.

One bag was found to contain acetaminophen, known commonly as Tylenol, pills and the other tramadol — an opioid pain medication — and fentanyl. Burse testified that he used the tramadol for pain resulting from a gunshot wound, and he had blended the pills in a friend’s blender that he knew to contain fentanyl so that he could get high while relieving his pain.

Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to be completed before sentencing on Burse’s convictions, scheduled for Feb. 27 at 9 a.m.

Prosecutors will likely re-try the shooting case.