DAYTON — A Dayton man was convicted Thursday in the November 2019 killings of a Mansfield couple and their unborn child according to a report in the Dayton Daily News.
Larry Dwayne Rodgers, 33, faces sentencing on Feb. 11 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. He was convicted on four counts of aggravated murder; four counts of murder; four counts of kidnapping; four counts of felonious assault; and two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Each of those counts came with a three-year gun specification. Rodgers was also found guilty of one count of having weapons while under disability for a burglary conviction.
Authorities have stated that Rodgers immediately became a person of interest when Kayla Hayton, 20, and her boyfriend, Todd Burkhart, 28, were last seen on Nov. 16, 2019. The couple lived in Mansfield but both were from Ashland, according to the Mansfield News Journal.
Burkhart and Hayton, who was five months pregnant with a baby boy, reportedly told family they’d be traveling to Dayton, possibly to purchase a firearm for a friend as protection. They dropped off her daughter with family in Columbus before heading to Dayton. The couple was to return Nov. 17, 2019.
Burkhart’s body was found Nov. 22, 2019, in a vacant 900 West Stewart Street house in Dayton. Three days later, on Nov. 25, 2019, Hayton’s body was found with the help of cadaver dogs in another vacant house at 910 West Stewart Street.
According to a published report at WHIO-TV7, police arrested Rodgers on Nov. 23, 2019, after they obtained a search warrant for a house in the 600 block of Groveland Avenue “in relation to an ongoing homicide investigation,” court records read.
A .40 caliber handgun with an extended magazine was found in the closet of the bedroom Rodgers shared with his girlfriend, court records show.
According to the Dayton Daily News, Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said at the time that Burkhart and Hayton were each shot in the head. Although Hayton was hit by multiple gunshots, her unborn child was not hit by bullets but died because Hayton died, the coroner said.
The case was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic and numerous court motions. Rodgers was not indicted in the deaths until March 2020, with his trial finally taking place this month.