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Toledoan sentenced to life in prison for robberies, shootings


Reynard Lewis is led out of court by sheriff's deputies and his attorney Drew Griffith after entering a plea agreement before Judge Gene Zmuda.

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One Toledo man was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison today while another entered a plea and faces up to 30 years behind bars for their involvement in a series of robberies last year that resulted in the deaths of two men.

Reynard Lewis, 21, of 3815 Revere Dr., and Darrick Newsome, 19, of 3442 Baumont, each appeared in separate hearings in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Lewis was sentenced to prison for the deaths of Darnell Townsend-Tall and Raynail Gaiter while Newsome entered pleas for his role in the crimes.

Lewis, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of murder, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Prior to ordering the mandatory sentence, Judge Gene Zmuda told Lewis that he treated Mr. Townsend-Tall and Mr. Gaiter as if they were “mere obstacles” in the path of getting what he wanted.

“Your desire of getting what you want overshadows the fact that these were fellow human beings,” the judge said. “…You have removed these two people from our community and now you will be removed from our community.”

Lewis was one of six men arrested for the armed robbery and deaths of the two victims. According to police, Lewis and co-defendants, Newsome and Kurt Finley went on Nov. 7, 2011, to Mr. Townsend-Tall’s North Toledo home on East Weber Street where he was robbed of cash and shot twice in the head.

On Nov. 10, 2011, Lewis was accompanied by Newsome and Finley as well as co-defendants Quandre Willingham, Samojay Edwards, and Kevin Arnold to Mr. Gaiter’s Ravine Park Village apartment where three of them forced their way inside.

The men demanded property of Mr. Gaiter and another man, Sotero Thompson. During the robbery, Lewis shot Mr. Thompson in the abdomen and Mr. Gaiter in the head, authorities said.

LaSchelle Robinson, the mother of Mr. Gaiter’s children, cried as she told Judge Zmuda how much Mr. Gaiter is missed by those who loved him.

Prior to receiving his life sentence, Lewis apologized in court for the slayings, saying that he entered a plea “to take responsibility for my actions.”

“I regret the loss of life and hope one day the family will accept my apologies,” he said.

Also before Judge Zmuda, co-defendant Newsome entered an Alford plea to one count of involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification and two counts of robbery. He faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced Nov. 28.

Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Loisel said the three counts related to three separate armed robberies that occurred in November, 2011.

In addition to the robberies of Mr. Townsend-Tall and Mr. Gaiter, Newsome entered a plea to the Nov. 23 robbery of a man during a drug transaction at the intersection of Lewis and Eleanor avenues. In that case, the victim was not harmed but both Newsome and Lewis were armed with handguns when they stole money from the man, Mr. Loisel said.

Although Newsome was armed during each of the robberies, he was not the one who pulled the trigger ending the lives of Mr. Townsend-Tall and Mr. Gaiter, Mr. Loisel added.

In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime but acknowledges evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The court treats it as a guilty plea.

Four co-defendants have already pleaded entered pleas for their roles in the robberies of Mr. Townsend-Tall and Mr. Gaiter and await a Nov. 27 sentencing by Judge Frederick McDonald.

In March, Finley, 19, of 220 E. Pearl St. pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated robbery, both with a one-year gun specification.

A month later, Willingham, 22, of 1016 Baker St., was found guilty after pleading no contest to one count each of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, felonious assault with a gun specification, and having a weapon as a felon. Also in April, Edwards, 19, of 1123 Noble St. pleaded no contest and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification

In May, Arnold, 23, of 55 Poplar St. pleaded no contest and was found guilty of aggravated robbery and a one-year gun specification.

Contact Erica Blake at: or 419-213-2134.

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