LIMA — Jolade Omosikeji Jr., 22, was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison for the June 2019 shooting death of 19-year-old Lima resident Christian Laws.
He pleaded guilty last month to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Judge Terri Kohlrieser sentenced the Lima man to 10 years on the manslaughter charge and a mandatory additional three years for the use of a firearm in the commission of the crime.
Attorneys in the case presented drastically differing version of the events of June 14, 2019, when Laws was found shot to death in the 2400 block of Lark Avenue.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Kyle Thines said the case was a result of “senseless violence with guns and young people in the community” coupled with the “unwillingness” of witnesses to come forward and assist law enforcement.
Thines said the defendant and others at the scene offered multiple stories to investigators, making it virtually impossible for the state “to combat the defendant’s story of self-defense.”
Defense attorney Zach Maisch, however, said there was “significant evidence of justifiable self-defense” on the part of his client.
He said DNA tests show that Laws “clearly had a gun in his hand” shortly before he was shot. He said Omosikeji “clearly fired his weapon out of fear for his life.”
Omosikeji spoke briefly before sentence was passed, apologizing to Laws’ family and accepting responsibility for his actions. He said he never intended for Laws to die.
Kohlrieser bristled at that contention later in the hearing.
“Is there anyone in this room that doesn’t understand that firing a gun in the direction of another human being can result in a person dying?” the judge asked rhetorically. “I get tired of hearing ‘I didn’t mean to kill him.’ I can’t say enough how stupid this all is. Nobody is listening, but I’m going to say it anyway. Lima would not be crazy like this if not for young people running around with guns…. Ridiculous.”