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The Journal Gazette

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Thursday, August 03, 2017 1:00 am

20 years given in shooting death of girl's protector

FRANK GRAY | The Journal Gazette

A man who went to his ex-girlfriend's house gunning for her and ended up killing a man trying to protect her was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years for voluntary manslaughter.

Davon M. Burden, 28, had a rifle when he went to confront the woman at her house in the 4100 block of Euclid Street on July 5, 2016. Burden argued with the woman at the door and she managed to close it.

Dominic Javon Norton, who was in the house, had told the woman to get away from the door. He threw her aside just as Burden fired three shots through the door.

Norton was shot once and died later at a hospital.

Burden pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Charges of murder, criminal recklessness and using a firearm in the commission of a crime were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Burden apologized to Norton's family, but Superior Court Judge John Surbeck questioned whether Burden's expression of remorse was real, especially since he had said he intended to kill his girlfriend.

Surbeck said the victim, Norton, was a hero who died saving the woman Norton had come gunning for.

Surbeck also said he had to bite his tongue when the defense called the fact that Burden had several minor children a mitigating factor. The children Burden said he cared about so much were present when he fired into the house. One of the bullets entered the room where the children were.

Surbeck also cited Burden's past criminal record and noted he was on parole at the time of the shooting.

“You should have learned in 2010 that guns are trouble,” Surbeck said.

Surbeck sentenced Burden to a full 20 years. It is not clear whether Burden will have to serve any additional time for violating his parole on an earlier drug conviction.