The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 08, 2020 1:00 am

Murder trial in '16 killing gets started

Accused of ordering man shot during marijuana deal

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Brian Quintana asked for money to buy shoes the day he died.

The 18-year-old's father, Martin Quintana, agreed to give him the cash, and they went Aug. 14, 2016, to the kitchen in their home to talk. Hours later, the younger Quintana was dead – shot once in the chest during a struggle over marijuana in the dimly lit parking lot of an apartment complex on the city's northeast side.

“He was my life,” Martin Quintana said in court Tuesday, breaking down into heavy sobs on the witness stand. “We were making so many plans.”

Devyn Yancey, 20, is charged with murder, felony murder – one committed in the act of another felony – and robbery in the slaying. Kevin Hamilton, who was 17 at the time, fired the fatal shot from a 9 mm handgun, but investigators said it was Yancey who ordered him to shoot.

A three-day trial for Yancey began Tuesday in Allen Superior Court and is expected to end Thursday. Yancey was angry about being shorted on an earlier drug deal and organized a plan to get back at Brian Quintana by robbing him, prosecutors said.

Text messages and fingerprints on a bag of marijuana recovered by police tie Yancey to the crime, they said.

“Ten grams,” Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Josh Michael said in opening statements. “Devyn Yancey and Kevin Hamilton murdered Brian Quintana over 10 grams of marijuana.”

Hamilton was tried as an adult and convicted in 2017 of murder, robbery and a sentencing enhancement for using a gun to commit the crime. He is serving a 74-year prison sentence.

Police were called about 10 p.m. to the 1900 block of River Run Trail, where they found Brian Quintana lying in the parking lot. Clinging to life, he told officers Hamilton shot him, Michael said.

Two witnesses – residents of the apartment complex – testified they heard a gunshot and saw Brian Quintana stumble and fall while trying to get back to his car.

Yancey and Hamilton sped away in Hamilton's car before stopping less than a mile away at a home on St. Joe Center Road, where Michael said they were found in a maroon SUV.

Hamilton told police after the shooting he got the gun from Yancey, a probable cause affidavit alleges.

“(Hamilton) advised that Yancey told him to shoot (Brian) Quintana,” Fort Wayne Police Detective Robin Pfeiffer wrote in the sworn statement. “(He) advised that he didn't know if it struck Quintana or not. He advised that all he knew was the back windshield shattered.”

Brian Quintana was unarmed, investigators said.

Defense attorney Robert Gevers told jurors that evidence linking Yancey to the crime is scant. The gun, the car and other evidence is tied to Hamilton, not Yancey, Gevers said.

“There are some text messages,” he said. “We'll talk about those later.”

Yancey used someone else's phone to text Hamilton about robbing Brian Quintana, according to court documents.

The shooting is not the first time Yancey was connected to gun violence.

In 2018, he was charged in a separate case with felony criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of carrying a handgun without a license. Yancey accidentally shot a female driver who offered him a ride, court documents say. He pleaded guilty to the felony charge a few months later and was ordered to spend a year on probation.

Witness testimony in the murder trial continues today.

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