LIMA — A jury found a Toledo man guilty of shooting at a car, killing the driver and causing an accident that also injured the passenger in 2021.
Demarco Morris, 34, was convicted of one count of murder, two counts of second-degree felonious assault — one on Michael Latson and the other on his son — and first-degree felony of discharging a firearm on prohibited premises. He was convicted of four firearm specifications.
Morris is convicted of shooting at a truck and killing Davion Latson, 25, and injuring his father on Sept. 5, 2021.
Jurors began deliberation on Thursday, meeting for more than six hours before breaking for the night. They resumed deliberation on Friday, reaching a verdict after more than five hours.
Morris was acquitted of one count of murder.
Michael Latson, Davion Latson’s father, testified on Monday that he was assaulted at a home on South Perry Street by Morris and a man named Larry Luke. His son picked him up later at a house on Market Street. He said Morris shot at the truck when his son stopped outside the home to ask who had hurt his father, and Davion Latson sped off and crashed, dying from a bullet wound.
Morris testified on Thursday that he had fought with Michael Latson and later saw a gun on the ground in front of the home. He said when he saw a truck pass the home then turn around and come back, he picked up the gun and started firing after it pulled partially into the driveway.
According to Michael Latson’s testimony, his son drove off, but passed out and the car crashed and flipped over. Davion Latson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Morris said that the driver, Davion Latson, had “flashed” a gun in his right hand, but Jennifer Lewis, the younger Latson’s mother, said her son was left-handed and didn’t carry guns.
Morris said he fired the gun to protect his three children and did not intend to kill anyone.
“I wasn’t trying to kill him. I wasn’t trying to hurt him; I was just trying to get him away from where my kids was at,” Morris testified.
Jurors rejected the notion that Morris acted in self defense that night.
Three different individuals who were also at the home testified that they saw Davion Latson yell, asking who had assaulted his dad before three to four gunshots were fired. Stories differed on whether the younger Latson exited the car or leaned out the window.
Melody Griffith, an owner of the home, said on Tuesday that after the shooting, two young men came to the home in a red vehicle and Morris gave one of them the gun. She said one of the men placed a gun under a mattress in her house.
Zander Holland, whose cousin lived down the street from the South Perry Street home, testified Tuesday that Michael Latson had been “threatening people for no reason” before he left.
Lamonda Pryor testified Tuesday that Davion Latson had exited his car when he yelled asking who had hurt his dad, but in video footage of a police interview, Pryor repeatedly told the detective that “he never got out.”
Dr. Jeffrey Hudson, the deputy coroner at the Lucas County Coroner’s Office, testified Wednesday that through the autopsy he performed, he determined that Davion Latson died from a bullet that penetrated his back in the left side. He said injuries around the wound indicated that the bullet had passed through an object, like the side of a car, before striking him.
Officers testified earlier in the week that Morris exited a shed on the neighbor’s property about five hours after the shooting — at which point he was a suspect.
Morris told the jury that he hid in the shed because he was afraid of incurring a having weapons under disability charge, as he has a prior criminal record.
Jennifer Stewart, Davion Latson’s mother, testified on Monday that she was on the phone with her son and Michael Latson during the incident, hearing the gunshots through the phone and her son say that he was hit. She said she heard Davion Latson’s last breath.
“That was my baby; that was my only son,” the woman told the jury through tears. “I feel so guilty; I put my son in harm’s way and I couldn’t protect him.”
Morris will be sentenced on April 28 following a pre-sentencing investigation. His bond was revoked and he was taken into custody.