An Akron man will face the death penalty next month after being convicted of several felonies in the fatal shootings of two people and a related shooting late last year that left a man paralyzed.
Dawud El Spaulding, 30, of East Buchtel Avenue, showed no emotion as Summit County Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher read the verdicts at noon: guilty of two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of felonious assault and other lesser charges.
Spaulding, dressed in a black striped sport coat, white shirt and tie and dark dress slacks, stood at the defense table with his attorney, Jason Wells. He fixed his eyes on the bench as Gallagher read the jury’s decision on each count.
Jurors had been deliberating since getting the case at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Wells said Spaulding was disappointed with the verdict, respects the jury’s decision and is considering appellate options.
Spaulding will face the death penalty for killing Ernie Thomas and Erica Singleton, the mother of Spaulding’s 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, and the shooting of Patrick Griffin just hours earlier that same day.
Gallagher has scheduled the mitigation phase of Spaulding’s trial to begin Dec. 4. In those proceedings, commonly known as a mini-trial, prosecutors must prove the aggravated circumstances of the crimes outweigh any defense assertions that the death penalty is not warranted.
The judge alone will decide if Spaulding should die at the hands of the state.
The shootings occurred at a home in the 1100 block of Grant Street in the early hours of Dec. 15 — during a period that veteran Akron police have described as one of the most violent in the city’s history. Nine people were shot, six fatally, during a six-day span, investigations showed.
Griffin was the first victim.
He was shot and fell in a doorway leading to a side driveway of the Grant Street home about 2 a.m. The shooting left him paralyzed.
Some six hours later, Spaulding returned to the home, prosecutors said, and fatally shot Singleton and Thomas moments after they left the steps of Thomas’ front porch.
Singleton had a protection order against Spaulding and was trying to hide when she was killed, prosecutors said.
Stacey Hill Addie, an aunt of Griffin’s, said the most compelling evidence was Spaulding’s actions in the days before the shootings.
Although the jury found Spaulding not guilty of one charge, felony stalking, Addie said he was out to get Singleton as she sought refuge in Tallmadge.
“Tallmadge police really made the case. They had voice mails from Dawud threatening her and saying he was going to kill her. They played those [in court],” Addie said.
She said the voice-mail messages were left on Singleton’s cell phone and her mother’s phone. She called Spaulding’s tone “very harsh and very direct.”
“He was full of confidence that he was going to get away with it, because that’s what he said. He was sure he was going to get away with it, and he didn’t show any emotion during the trial — no remorse, no emotion, none. He wouldn’t even look at us,” Addie said.
She called the four-week trial an extreme hardship for all of the families.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it exceeded it, knowing that was the person who destroyed your family member’s life,” Addie said. “And to sit there and watch it, this trial was the worst thing ever.”
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or email@example.com.