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Jury finds Victor Santana guilty of murder

DAYTON — A Montgomery County Common Pleas jury reached a verdict in the trial for a Dayton man accused of killing two teens in a shooting in a detached garage, in what his attorney argued was self-defense.

The jury found Victor Santana, 63, of Dayton, guilty of four counts of murder, four counts of felonious assault and one count of attempt to commit murder. He was acquitted of one felonious assault charge.

The murder charges were in connection to the shooting death of 17-year-old Dayton residents Devin Henderson and Javier Harrison on Santana’s Conners Street property.

>> DAY 1: Prosecutor says two teens killed in garage couldn’t escape; defense says shooter was ‘afraid’

>> DAY 2: 3rd teen who was with 2 killed in shooting testifies

After prosecutors rested Thursday morning, the defense started their arguments in the case by bringing two witnesses to the stand. Both witnesses were family members of Santana, which the court prohibited News Center 7 from photographing or identifying by name.

The defense first called Santana’s niece, who said she lived in Dayton the last 30 years and had no concerns about him and described him as being peaceful.

His niece also said she didn’t know Santana has a gun.

Closing arguments began around lunch Thursday with prosecutors pointing to an interview police did with Santana, where they said Santana repeatedly told them he shot the teens because they didn’t answer them.

“It is clear that this defendant is not entitled to a claim of self -defense and we are asking you to find him guilty,” said Kim Melnick, supervising attorney with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Defense lawyer Lucas Wilder during closing arguments said Santana shot the teens because he felt he was in danger.

“He didn’t hunt these young men, he didn’t sneak attack them,” Wilder said. “The deciding factor is that you have to put yourself in this mans shoes at the time.”

During the first two days of the trial, prosecutors argued that Henderson and Harrison were not given a chance to escape before being shot.

Henderson and Harrison were “given no chance to escape, were given no chance to show they meant no harm…their only mistake was trespassing on a property they believed was abandoned and smoking weed,” said Montgomery County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Whitney Crim.

Wednesday prosecutors brought the third teen who was with Henderson and Harrison when the shooting happened to the stand.

“When I saw the door open, I saw flash, flash, flash ‚flash, hear the gunshots and then I heard Javier said, I’ve got shot,” said Ja’shin Gibson during the second day of proceedings.

“He was talking as he was shooting but there was no warning when he opened the door and started shooting,” Gibson said.