Testimony begins in trial of Toledo man charged in shooting death, assault

LIMA — Testimony began Monday in the trial of a Toledo man accused of assaulting a man and killing his son.

Demarco Morris, 34, is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of second-degree felonious assault and first-degree felony discharging a firearm on prohibited premises. All charges carry firearm specifications. Morris is accused of shooting at a truck and killing Davion Latson, 25, on Sept. 5, 2021.

Testimony began after multiple individuals were removed from the courtroom following an argument between a man there for Morris and a woman there for the Latson family.

Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Terri Kohlrieser said anyone else who disrupted the trial would be held in contempt of court.

“I am not the one to play with,” Kohlrieser told the packed audience.

Michael Latson, Davion Latson’s father, testified that he had been out that day with some friends drinking alcohol. He said at a home on South Perry Street, he got into an argument with one of the men, who struck him with an object in the back of his neck.

Latson said Morris struck him across the face when he was outside the home, and he remembers feeling someone kick him. He said he walked away from the home when he heard a gun cock.

Latson, who said he was confused due to his head injury, was unsure where he was until his girlfriend — with whom he was on the phone — told him to knock on someone’s door for help.

Jennifer Stewart, the man’s girlfriend, testified that she had been calling Latson repeatedly because it was unlike him to not return home before 11 p.m. She said when he picked up the phone, he seemed very confused and told her that “they just jumped me.”

Stewart said once she discovered the man’s location, she called her son to pick up his father and remained on the phone.

Michael Latson said that when his son picked him up, they happened to drive by the Perry Street home, where Davion Latson saw one of his dad’s friends. He said he asked who had hurt his father, and when no one answered, he began to drive off before three to four gunshots were fired.

Michael Latson said he looked out the back of the car and saw Morris shooting at them. He said his son was hit, passed out and accelerated the car, which crashed and flipped over.

Stewart said she heard the gunshots through the phone and her son say that he was hit. She said she heard Davion Latson’s last breath.

“That was my baby; that was my only son,” the woman told the jury through tears. “… I feel so guilty; I put my son in harm’s way and I couldn’t protect him.”

Stewart said her boyfriend’s sister drove her to the area she thought the two men had been driving. She saw police lights and her son in the street covered with a white sheet.

Assistant Public Defender Steve Chamberlain said during opening arguments that the defense does not intend to argue that Morris did not fire the gun that killed Davion Latson, but does dispute that it was murder. He said the shooting was an act of self defense and to protect his three young children who were at the home.

Testimony in the case will continue Tuesday at 9 a.m.