Second person sentenced in 2018 killing of 16-year-old girl

Sydney Garcia-Tovar of Hamilton was shot in the head during a drug deal and robbery in Fairfield Township prosecutors say.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 3:50 PM EST
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HAMILTON, Ohio (FOX19) - Both people have now been sentenced in the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl more than five years ago.

Markeylnd Townsend appeared in Butler County court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in October for the 2018 death of 16-year-old Sydney Garcia Tovar.

The judge sentenced him to 48 months in jail.

“Nothing I ever say or do can reverse this, and I do not wish to be seen as a monster in anyone’s eyes,” Townsend said Wednesday in court. “I am not a monster. I was a foolish kid that made a lot of bad decisions, and every day, I do my best to prove to everybody that I’m not the same person I used to be, and I mean this with all my heart, that I am truly sorry.”

That was Townsend’s final plea to the judge and Garcia Tovar’s family ahead of his sentencing.

He and Jordan Spain both admitted to firing shots the night of Garcia Tovar’s death.

Spain was sentenced to 10 years for his charge earlier this month.

While Garcia Tovar’s family did send a written victim impact statement to the judge in Townsend’s case, they did not speak in court Wednesday.

Earlier this month, during Spain’s sentencing, Garcia Tovar’s mother had this to say:

“I find myself struggling to remember her voice, her laughter,” Stephanie Garcia Tovar said. “I pray every night that she will visit me in my dreams, but every morning she is gone again. I am exhausted. Sometimes it feels like he has taken my life too, and in many ways he has.”

Spain and Townsend both pleaded down from murder charges to involuntary manslaughter charges.

A decision that’s been scrutinized by those who know Garcia Tovar best and a decision the judge addressed in court.

“I think that under all the circumstances, this was the most appropriate charge that was reached,” the judge said. “Regardless of the findings of the grand jury, I think that the plea negotiations that were conducted led to the most appropriate thing happening in regards to this case.”

Townsend was given three years for the involuntary manslaughter charge and one year for a gun specification.

He has already served more than 600 days of that sentence.

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