Damon L. Taylor, who was 17 when he was accused of a fatal shooting in Reynoldsburg, could spend the rest of his life in an adult prison for the crime.
A Franklin County jury convicted Taylor of murder with a gun specification April 16 in the death of 18-year-old Enrique Straughter, who was gunned down April 15, 2016, near his apartment in the 2100 block of Lavenham Road.
Taylor, of the Far East Side, faces a mandatory life sentence in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years when he is sentenced May 28 by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook.
Taylor, who turned 21 on April 20, was five days shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the slaying. A Juvenile Court judge transferred his case to adult court in 2017.
Jurors deliberated for about four hours before acquitting Taylor of the more serious charge of aggravated murder, which required proof that he killed Straughter with prior calculation and design. They also acquitted him of one count of murder that alleged the death was purposeful.
Instead, they found that he killed Straughter as a result of committing felonious assault.
Taylor became a suspect within hours of the death after police found his mother’s car, which Taylor had taken without her permission, abandoned at the apartment complex and a key fob from the car near the body.
Police also discovered a piece of a handgun at the scene that contained Straughter’s blood and Taylor’s DNA.
Jurors heard from two witnesses who testified that Taylor confessed to them in jail. Both received plea deals in their cases in exchange for their testimony.
Assistant prosecutors John Gripshover and Rick Schanz also presented cellphone evidence to show that Taylor’s phone was in the area of the Reynoldsburg apartment complex at the time of the crime.
Taylor did not testify, but jurors watched video of his interview with Reynoldsburg police detectives, in which he said he saw a companion shoot Straughter during an argument.
By the time the interview was conducted in late 2016, the man that Taylor identified as the killer was dead, the victim of an unrelated homicide.