Confession of accused murderer read aloud in court

LIMA — A detective with the Lima Police Department testified Friday that Malik Dennis scaled an exterior television antennae at a Greenlawn Avenue home and discharged a firearm through a window of the residence, killing 14-year-old Lauralye Sterling.

Following his arrest and subsequent interrogation some 24 hours after the shooting incident, the Lima teenager allegedly admitted firing the shot that killed Sterling and also authored a brief written confession/apology.

Detective Jesse Harrod read that letter aloud in Lima Municipal Court on Friday. It stated, in part: “I am sorry for what I have done out of anger. Now that I am calm I realize I messed up. … I’m really sorry. I didn’t want anything to happen to her.”

Harrod was the lone witness in the probable cause hearing held in Lima Municipal Court for Dennis, 18, who is charged with murder in Sterling’s death. The detective testified he was dispatched to 788 Greenlawn Ave. in the early-morning hours of Feb. 13 in reference to a shooting.

He said a .40 caliber shell casing was found outside the home near the television antennae. Once inside the home, Sterling was found deceased in a bedroom as the apparent result of a gunshot to her chest, the detective testified.

Steve Chamberlain of the Allen County Public Defenders Office asked Harrod if, during the course of the investigation into Sterling’s death, it was learned that Dennis had been robbed a short time prior to the shooting. The detective said that during a police interview Dennis alleged he had been robbed by two juveniles who were inside the Greenlawn Avenue residence. At that point, Harrod said, Dennis left briefly and returned with the firearm used to shoot Sterling.

Municipal Court Magistrate Richard Warren ruled there is sufficient evidence to bind the case over to Allen County Common Pleas Court for consideration by a grand jury. Warren said the murder charge, an unclassified felony, carries a maximum possible prison sentence of 15 years to life.

Bond for Dennis was continued at $2 million.

Sterling was a freshman at Lima Senior High School who enjoyed drawing and social media, according to her published obituary.