Dennis charged with murder in 14-year-old’s death

LIMA — An Allen County grand jury this week returned indictments charging Lima resident Malik Dennis with murder and other charges related to the Feb. 13 shooting death of 14-year-old Lauralye Sterling.

Dennis was formally charged with aggravated murder and two counts of murder, each unclassified felonies, along with single counts of felonious assault, improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation and tampering with evidence.

Sterling, a freshman at Lima Senior High School, was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound inside a residence at 788 Greenlawn Ave. in the early morning hours of Feb. 13.

Police say Dennis, 18, scaled an exterior television antennae at the home and discharged a firearm through a window. Following his arrest the Lima teenager admitted firing the shot that killed Sterling and also authored a brief written confession/apology.

That letter was read aloud in Lima Municipal Court during a probable cause hearing on Feb. 22. It read, 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.”

At that same municipal court hearing, attorney Steve Chamberlain from the Allen County Public Defenders Office said it was learned that Dennis had been robbed a short time prior to the shooting by two juveniles who were inside the Greenlawn Avenue residence. He reportedly left and returned with the firearm that was used to shoot Sterling.

He is being held in the Allen County jail under a $2 million bond.