Lima man gets 47-year sentence for double murder, assault

LIMA — A Lima man will spend at least 47 years in prison after receiving his sentence for murder and felonious assault Thursday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.

Kenyatta Washington, 27, was sentenced to a minimum of 47 years in prison Thursday in Judge Terri Kohlrieser’s court. In January, he pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one count of felonious assault.

The charges stem from the April 22 shooting deaths of Romelo Blackman, 28, and John Dyes, 18, at a West McKibben Street residence, as well as the shooting of Shondale Mayo Jr., 21, at a South Roberts Avenue residence earlier that same evening.

Each of the murder charges came with a sentence of 15 years to life in prison, while the felonious assault charge resulted in a sentence of eight to 12 years in prison. Each of the charges had three additional years added on due to the use of a firearm. Kohlrieser ordered that each of these sentences be served consecutively.

Washington fled Ohio following the incidents and was extradited a week later from Louisiana after being picked up by police.

During the sentencing hearing, Allen County Prosecutor Destiny Caldwell called the court’s attention to statements made by Washington while in custody in Louisiana.

“The defendant indicated in there that he committed this offense because his family had been threatened and that the individuals, the victims in this case, were treating him like a pushover,” she said. “I would note for the court that when you look over all the different reports in this case, specifically the evaluation of the defendant, at no time does the defendant indicate that he felt threatened in any way.

“If anything, what the defendant felt like was that these individuals were making him look weak by posting videos of him on the internet, and as a result, he was going to get revenge.”

Victim statements from family members of the murder victims indicated that Washington had been friends with them to the point of Washington being taken into their homes and cared for.

“I want justice served,” said Lakendra Blackman, Romelo Blackman’s mother, during her statement. “It’s too bad the death penalty doesn’t fit you. I want justice to prevail on our family’s behalf.”

Washington responded during the hearing, “I’m sorry about what happened in this situation and how it played out. If I could take it back, I would, but I felt threatened for my life, and I acted as such. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

In delivering the sentence, Kolhrieser expressed puzzlement over why an individual who had served in the military with only a single misdemeanor on his record would go from that to shooting three people, two fatally. One of the key facts she emphasized in her decision was the fact that Mayo was shot with a firearm using 9-millimeter ammunition, while Blackman was shot four times and Dyes six times by an assault-style rifle.

“He chose to fire at Mr. Mayo and then proceeded to go to a completely different location within a short time frame. He had a second weapon, and, in the only way I can describe it, he engaged in a complete devastation of that home and of those men,” Kohlrieser said. “Mr. Dyes didn’t even have time to get up out of his seat and was shot six times with a rifle. Mr. Blackman was shot four times with a rifle. You gunned them down like they were dogs in the street that were rabid. That is not ‘fear for my life.’”

Washington now has a 30-day window to file an appeal if he so chooses.