Second person pleads guilty to charges in teen’s 2018 death

Police have said the 16-year-old was shot in the head as she sat behind the wheel of a car just before 10:30 p.m. on July 23, 2018.
Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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HAMILTON, Ohio (WXIX) - A second person on trial in the case of a 16-year-old’s death in 2018 has pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Markeylnd Townsend appeared in court Wednesday, more than five years after the death of 16-year-old Sydney Garcia-Tovar.

Townsend was originally charged with murder and felonious assault.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, it was announced in court.

In addition to a possible three-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter, Townsend also pleaded to a one-year gun specification. Meaning, he could spend as many as four years behind bars.

Townsend is the second of two defendants to admit guilt in connection with Sydney’s death.

Nineteen-year-old Jordan Spain pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and a three-year gun specification in August. He faces up to 14 years in prison.

Police have said Sydney was shot in the head as she sat behind the wheel of a car just before 10:30 p.m. on July 23, 2018, after driving three people to Tyler’s Creek apartments on Wildbranch Road.

She had driven a few people there, and a confrontation between other people became heated, police have said.

The 16-year-old Sydney died the following day.

After, Butler County court officials released a June 8 court filing in response to a FOX19 NOW public records request that shows prosecutors say Sydney was shot during “a drug deal/robbery.”

Sydney’s mother, Stephanie Garcia-Tovar, objected to Townsend’s plea on Wednesday.

“I’m not really sure what to say. I feel the same as when Spain was in court,” Stephanie explained. “I’m just feeling defeated, disappointed and disregarded. I don’t know how someone can get up and admit guilt and be considered for any kind of plea deal. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

She further said, “Without serious consequences for their actions, I do feel something like this will happen again in the future and the judge has not seen the last of them.”

Townsend will appear in court for sentencing on Nov. 8.

Spain is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 1.

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