As his victim’s family weeped, Quincy Allen could muster only smiles after he was pronounced guilty Monday of murder in the death of La’Quan Dunbar.
The jury’s verdict was swift. After nearly five days of testimony, eight women and four men took just two hours to find Allen, 22, of 1343 Oak Hill Ct. guilty of murder with firearm and gang specifications and guilty of participating in a criminal gang for the April 19 death of Mr. Dunbar, 20. He was shot in the back of the head during a fight at the Gas & Express Mart, 2315 N. Detroit Ave.
Allen faces 29 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Wednesday by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda.
Prosecutors portrayed Mr. Dunbar’s killing as revenge for the 2012 slaying of Allen’s younger brother, Deonta, who was shot in the back while running from a robbery. Traquawn Gibson, a member of the Moody Manor Boyz gang, was convicted of that murder and the murder of his girlfriend and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Allen, prosecutors said, was a member of the South Side Gangster Disciples — rivals of the Manor Boyz — and hungry for revenge.
Ian English, an assistant county prosecutor, told the jury in closing arguments Monday that “in his letters, he talks about how his brother and other people from his side of town have been killed, and it’s eating him alive. Not because of Traquawn Gibson but because ‘they.’ It’s not the individual in gang war. It’s the group.”
Surveillance video and several witnesses put Allen at the scene. One witness, Marlon Powell, did not testify in person but said in a videotaped statement with police that was played for the jury that he heard the gunshot and turned to see Allen standing over Mr. Dunbar with a gun in his hand.
Defense attorney Phil Carlisle argued that it was Mr. Powell who likely pulled the trigger. Surveillance video shown to the jury showed Mr. Powell had fought with another individual at the gas station shortly before starting the confrontation with Mr. Dunbar.
“The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, we don’t know what happened,” Mr. Carlisle said. “We don’t have the murder weapon. We don’t have the bullet that caused the death of La’Quan Dunbar, and we don’t have the actual shooting on video. It’s off camera. All we can do is speculate, and that certainly creates reasonable doubt.”
Among the key witnesses for the prosecution was Allen’s former girlfriend, Latisha Riley who told the jury he came to her house about an hour after the shooting and told her he had struck someone with a gun at the gas station, causing the gun to go off.
Jurors also heard recorded phone conversations Allen had with various people from the Lucas County jail and read letters Allen wrote to Ms. Riley from jail. In several of the conversations and letters, he told prospective witnesses they didn’t have to say anything in court and at one point told Ms. Riley to tell a detective she didn’t even know him.
Prosecutors also alleged he offered to pay Mr. Powell several thousand dollars to disappear and not testify.
“There is nothing more in this case that demonstrates this defendant’s guilt than his conduct after being charged,” Mr. English said in his closing argument.
During the weeklong trial, jurors also heard the gang song, “Wooty Woo La La La,” which prosecutors said “celebrated” the killing of Deonta Allen and drove his brother to kill a rival gang member in retaliation.
Mr. English and Mr. Carlisle declined to comment.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.