AKRON, Ohio — Some Akron families are questioning the justice system after a man, who was convicted in connection with a teen's murder two years ago, was linked to a recent double homicide on Brown Street in Akron.
Dylan Brown, 20, of Akron, is charged with complicity to commit aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. He's being held in a West Virginia jail on an unrelated charge, police said.
Brown is among four people facing charges in connection with the killings of Melinda Pointer, 47, and Justin Walker, 34. Both were shot and found in a burning home last month.
Steven Hayes, 20, of Akron has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder.
Kianna Buckley, 42, of Akron, is charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.
Gia Hernandez, 37, of Akron, has warrants for tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.
News of the charges against Brown reopened emotional wounds for Jackie Conner. Her niece, Samantha Guthrie, 18, was shot and killed in 2018. Her body was found in a wooded area in New Franklin.
Four people were convicted in connection with Guthrie's case, including Brown who was placed on community control.
"To hear that has been involved in something as horrendous again is very, very disappointing," Conner said. "He threw away a second chance. It's very disheartening to know that people can just take things like that for granted."
Danny Hamby, Toni Kenney, and William Alexander all received prison sentences in connection with Guthrie's case.
As part of a plea agreement in October of 2019, Brown avoided a potential prison sentence when prosecutors agreed to drop an attempted kidnapping charge. He was convicted of obstructing justice and given five years community control.
According to Conner, Guthrie's parents supported the plea deal, in part, because they believed Brown's contention that he was forced at gunpoint by Hamby to help hide the body.
"He was given a great opportunity to change his life around, to advocate for other people in his situation," Conner said. "He just didn't."
The family of Justin Walker and Melinda Pointer released a statement on Friday thanking the Akron Police Department for their work in solving the murders.
Walker's sister, Josha, said the case is now in the hands of the justice system.
"We anticipate justice to be served in such a way that specifically Mr. Brown will no longer have the opportunity to cause the heartache and pain our families and Samantha's have experienced as a direct result of his actions/involvement," she said.
Conner also raised questions over whether Brown should have been put in jail following an incident with Akron police officers in February.
According to a police report, Brown was a passenger in a car that was pulled over at South Arlington Street and Minota Avenue because there was an expired plate.
As Brown exited the vehicle, he attempted to grab at his pants and a BB gun pistol was found in his pants, the report said.
Brown was handcuffed, but he was not arrested. Captain David Laughlin said after lab test proved there were drugs in the car, a warrant was issued for Brown's arrest a few weeks later.
However, police did not find him in the months that followed.
Conner believes Brown should have been locked up six months ago.
"He was on probation. He had a suspended jail sentence from Samantha's case so why was he released yet again? Why did the justice system fail again?"
Detectives are working to extradite Brown back to Ohio and they expect other people will face charges in connection with the double murder.
Conner said she feels for the families of the victims, understands the pain they're experiencing and hopes they get justice.
"All we can do is just hope for the best outcome for what is happening now," she said.