Two found guilty in seperate Topeka murder cases

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Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 4:14 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Two defendants in separate murder cases were found guilty in trials that began in Topeka on Monday.

Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay says Davontra Alston was charged for his role in the 2020 homicide of D’Angelo Payne. He said Alston was convicted for murder in the first degree, premeditated; alternatively, murder in the first degree, committed during an inherently dangerous felony; conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, premeditated; and criminal discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle. He said Alson will be sentenced on Sept. 10, at 1:30 p.m.

According to DA Kagay, Alston’s charges stem from April 4, 2020, when officials were called to the are of 5th and Western just before 11:30 p.m. with reports of a shooting. Upon arrival, he said officers found a 2001 Ford Tauras had left the roadway and crashed into a yard at 512 SW Western. He said Payne was identified as the driver and only occupant of the vehicle and suffered from a single gunshot wound to the head. Kagay said he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kagay said the investigation led to the arrest of three co-defendants. He said the remaining defendants in the case are James Boatright and Diquan Clayton.

Kagay said Darren Matthew Johnson was also charged with murder in an entirely unrelated case. He said Johnson has been convicted of murder in the first degree, committed during an inherently dangerous felony; alternatively, murder in the second degree, reckless; fleeing or attempting to elude; and aggravated robbery. He said Johnson will be sentenced on July 16, at 1:30 p.m.

According to the DA, Johnson was charged for the fatality collision that happened in June of 2020 near 21st and Adams. He said the events began on June 22, when law enforcement was called to Ripley Park with reports of a carjacking. He said officers responded to the car around 4 a.m. and the victim said two known suspects physically assaulted him and stole his 2011 Kia Soul, as well as other belongings.

Just over an hour later, Kagay said officials encountered the stolen vehicle near SE Sage and Indiana. He said officers tried to stop the car, but the driver fled speeding. He said other officers in the area saw the car run a red light at the intersection and the driver then lost control, entered the oncoming lane and hit another vehicle head-on. He said the backseat passenger of the Soul, later identified as Ricardo Rodriguez, was pronounced dead at the scene. He said Johnson, the driver, was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injures and was later charged for the crimes.

Kagay said he sincerely wants to thank the residents of Shawnee Co. that performed their civic duty by serving on the juries and he commended the Topeka Police Department for excellent work in the case. Finally, he said he wanted to thank his prosecution team for a job well done. Alston was prosecuted by Lauren Amrein and Brett Watson while Johnson was prosecuted by Dan Dunbar and Ian Sharma-Crawford.

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