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Toledo man found guilty of involuntary manslaughter

A Toledo man who claimed he shot a man in self-defense was found guilty Thursday night of involuntary manslaughter and a firearm specification.

Dai-Shawn Henson, 23, of the 1400 block of Milburn Avenue faces up to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 30 by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook.

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Henson

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He shot Willie “Chucky” Riley, 32, of Toledo Feb. 14 in the back at an apartment building in the 1100 block of Pinebrook Parkway. Henson called 911 after the shooting, telling police he had fired his weapon.

He took the witness stand Thursday, testifying that he met Riley for the first time the night of the shooting. He said he and his girlfriend were playing cards with a friend and with Riley, and things were going OK until a very intoxicated Riley made inappropriate comments about Mr. Henson's girlfriend.

Henson described a series of mood swings in which Riley was alternately calm and then threatening. He said he just wanted to leave safely with his girlfriend when Riley swung a liquor bottle at him, prompting him to draw his gun.

Henson testified that he had a concealed-carry permit and that Riley knew he had a gun on him that night because he had shown it to him.

Security video played for the jury showed Riley dropping the bottle and raising his hands. Riley's brother then walks up, picks up the bottle, and Riley spits at Henson. Henson then fires the gun and, as Riley runs down the stairs, fires two more times.

Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division for the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, told the jury in his closing argument that if Henson feared for his life, he could have closed the door of the laundry room where he and his girlfriend were, locked it, and called police.

The victim never produced a gun, he said, arguing that Henson wasn't in danger but wanted to placate his girlfriend who was angry at him for not defending her in front of Riley.

“This is not about danger. It's about disrespect,” Mr. Lingo said. “... This is not a case of self-defense and even if you believe it is, it is a case of excessive force. The defendant shot and killed Chucky Riley because he did spit on him. He disrespected him in front of his girlfriend.”

Defense attorney Ronnie Wingate said that, while prosecutors wanted the jury to believe Henson fired because he was spit on, the jurors had to put themselves in Henson's place and consider everything that had happened that night, everything that led up to the gunshots.

“This is an accumulation. This is something that has been building up since the dinner started at 1131 Pinebrook,” he said. “It's not an isolated 32 seconds. It represents the culmination of what has been going on leading up to that 32 seconds. The state wants you to forget it. The law says you cannot forget it because in his position, he has that knowledge. He's under those circumstances. He's under those conditions.”

The jury deliberated for nearly five hours before delivering the verdict.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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