One man died. Another was shot. A third will soon head to prison.
And, all of it was over cigarettes.
That sums up the story behind a double shooting at an Akron bar last fall that left one Wooster man dead and another injured.
After deliberating for five hours, a Summit County jury Monday found Queitin Tyler guilty of murder.
Tyler, 34, showed little reaction as he heard the jury’s decision that he was guilty on all six counts against him. He faces a minimum of 21 years to life in prison when he is sentenced at 9 a.m. Oct. 16.
Family members of Tyler and Darian Hardison sat through the trial and several wept when they heard the verdicts.
Prosecutors say Tyler argued with Derrick Comby outside the Halftime Sports Pub on South Main Street Oct. 20 and shot Comby and Hardison. Both men ran. Comby, 28, survived and Hardison, 26, died.
Tyler’s trial began last Monday in Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty’s courtroom and wrapped up Friday.
Jurors deliberated for two hours Friday and three hours Monday morning before announcing they found Tyler guilty on all counts. The charges were: two counts of murder — one for purposely causing a death and another for causing a death as the result of felonious assault — felonious assault, illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises and carrying a concealed weapon. The murder and felonious assault charges include gun specifications that carry mandatory prison time.
Tyler testified during his trial that he feared for his life when he got into a quarrel after asking Comby and Hardison for cigarettes outside of the bar. He said they both flashed guns at him.
Tyler said he went back into the bar, got a gun from a friend and walked through the bar’s only exit. He said he intended to just show the gun to them, but heard two shots and fired his gun twice.
Prosecutors, however, said Tyler came out of the bar “guns a’blazing” because he felt disrespected by Comby and Hardison.
“This was about disrespect,” said Assistant Prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel. “This was a senseless death.”
A surveillance video was the key piece of evidence in the case, with Akron detectives able to identify people in the bar from the video who helped them to zero in on Tyler. Detectives said the video showed Tyler put his hand in his pocket, extract a gun and shoot as he exited the bar.
Tyler initially told police he wasn’t at the bar during the shooting. He testified that he was waiting to tell his story at trial.
Larry Whitney, who represented Tyler, declined comment until after the sentencing. Tyler Whitney, Larry’s son, was his co-counsel.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.