With a framed picture of her son on a table in front of her, the mother of a Maumee High School senior described the pain of losing a son to gunfire one year ago.
“You destroyed our lives as we know it. Not a minute goes by that I don't think of him,” Jennifer Doyle, mother of Collin Doyle, said Friday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. “You took my baby for absolutely no reason.”
The shooter, Andrew Foster-Martin, 18, of the 1600 block of Fernwood Avenue was sentenced to an agreed-upon prison term of 25 years by Judge Ian English.
Foster-Martin had pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and aggravated robbery, each with firearm specifications, for the Feb. 22 shooting death of the Doyle youth, 17, and the wounding of his friend, Armond Batey, 16, who was left paralyzed.
The two high school students were shot in the back while driving away from what investigators called a drug deal gone bad. The shots pierced their car’s trunk, passed through the back and front seats, and struck the two boys' backs.
“We try to make sense out of things, and you cannot make sense out of senseless,” Judge English said. “We are here for senseless violence.”
He said it's become “far too easy” for young men to pick up guns and shoot.
“And if I gave you the chance, you couldn't give me a reason,” Judge English told Foster-Martin, who was 17 at the time of the shooting. “You had a gun, had bullets, and there were people, and you pulled the trigger.”
Prosecutors said at previous hearings the Batey and Doyle youths reportedly went to buy marijuana from Tyreese Davis, but when they met him at Hillcrest and Homewood avenues in West Toledo, Foster-Martin was armed and intended to rob them. They were shot as they fled.
The Batey youth was not in court. Ms. Doyle described her son as “the most giving, loving, thoughtful person you will ever meet. His friends warned him repeatedly that his so-called new friend who was always needing a ride and had bad ideas to make money was using him, but out of the kindness of his heart and thoughtfulness, he did. He never wanted to say no, even if was a bad idea.”
Foster-Martin apologized for his conduct, saying he had “acted without thought or care.”
Also Friday, Judge English sentenced Jermonte Anderson, 20, of the 600 block Alexis Road to five years in prison. Anderson, who drove the defendants’ car, pleaded guilty to complicity to involuntary manslaughter and complicity to felonious assault.
He turned repeatedly to young Doyle's family members, apologizing for their loss and insisting he was not the type of person to do something like this.
“His statements are accurate in that this was nonsense. This was terrible and tragic and stupid — what was going on that evening,” said Meira Zucker, attorney for Anderson. “The court is well aware of the facts of the entire situation and the fact that it was the actions of young people who were not really considering the consequences of their actions.”
Travis Durden, 33, of the 1500 block of Berdan Avenue entered Alford pleas — not admitting guilt — to complicity to aggravated robbery and obstructing justice. Judge English sentenced him to two years in prison for obstructing justice and placed him on community control for five years for the complicity charge. He also ordered Durden to spend the first six months of his probation at the Correctional Treatment Facility.
Prosecutors said Durden was part of the group that set up the meeting with the Batey youth. Durden also lied to police about his role.
Defense attorney Ronnie Wingate argued that some witnesses said Durden was present, others said he wasn't, and others weren't sure. He also said Durden was developmentally disabled and had no criminal record.
Durden's brother, Tyreese Davis, who was 17 at the time of the incident, previously admitted to delinquency in connection with aggravated robbery and complicity to murder in Lucas County Juvenile Court. He was committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services until age 21.
Durden apologized for what happened and repeated that he loved his family, even his brother who is “very troubled.”
“I know I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for his decisions,” Durden said. “I understand I made some serious mistakes in how to handle myself and allowing my brother to go on the way that he did.”
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