2 plead guilty, claim they were hired in Covington drive-by shooting

Men pleaded guilty after possible 'murder for hire' drive-by shooting

KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Two men pleaded guilty Monday the day before they were to stand trial on charges stemming from a drive-by shooting in Covington last year.

The incident occurred April 2, 2019, in front of 337 E. 13th Street, according to Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders.

A black sedan drove by as five people were playing cornhole in front of the residence. Two men in the sedan opened fire on the group, and all five were hit. Sanders says “miraculously” no one was killed.

“It was by the grace of God that we didn’t have five dead bodies,” Sanders said.

A stray bullet also went into the residence, nearly hitting three people inside, according to Sanders.

The victims described the shooters' appearance but were “unable or unwilling” to identify them further, Sanders said.

The next day, Covington police officers saw Dawayne Dixon, 21, and Bryce Newborn, 19, smoking marijuana a few blocks from the crime scene. Newborn was arrested, Sanders says, and officers found a Ruger .45 caliber pistol in his waistband.

Dixon ran from police but was soon caught in the backyard of a nearby home, after which the homeowner found a Glock 9mm handgun in their trash can and notified police, Sanders says.

Dixon was arrested April 16 by Covington police. Ballistics determined at least two of the shots fired came from his Glock, Sanders says.

Police also found he had been driving a black Acura matching the description of the car used in the shooting. The car belonged to his girlfriend, Sanders says, and she told police Dixon had told her he and Newborn used the car in the shooting.

Ballistics also confirmed Newborn’s gun was used at the scene, and he later admitted to his role in the shooting, Sanders says.

Newborn told detectives he and Dixon were paid to shoot at the men but did not say who paid them, according to Sanders.

The prosecutor says the victims had no known relationships to either man.

“Murder for hire is certainly possible,” he said, “because we can’t find any other reason why they targeted these five individuals.”

Sanders credits the Covington Police Department’s “all hands on deck” approach to shooting investigations for providing prosecutors enough evidence to make the charges stick.

“Covington gets safer every year and their police deserve credit for cracking down on violence,” Sanders said. “These two defendants were no strangers to crime but now they’ll be out of our community for a good long time."

Dixon and Newborn pleaded guilty Monday to five counts of attempted murder and three counts of wanton endangerment, Sanders says. Dixon also pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, tampering with physical evidence and fleeing police.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Aaron Levinson recommended each man serve 20 years in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 15.

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