Darnell Bitting, 32, of Akron will spend the rest of his life in prison for the shooting death of 4-year-old Janaya Swain back in February outside his Akron home.
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce handed down the sentence Wednesday, adding that Bitting will not be eligible for parole for 56 and a half years. Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said in a statement that the "hope is that (the) sentence brings Janaya's family some peace."
See the full press release from Summit County Prosecutor Bevan Walsh's office below:
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce sentenced Darnell Bitting, 32 of Georgia Street in Akron, to life in prison for the shooting death of 4-year-old Janaya Swain. Bitting will be eligible for parole after serving 56 ½ years.
On Friday, October 5, 2018 a Summit County jury found Bitting guilty of the following charges:
“This tragedy will leave its mark for years to come. Four-year-old Janaya was full of life and always there to help a friend. She will be sorely missed,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “We are pleased to know the man responsible for her death will never again have the chance to hurt an innocent life. Our hope is that today’s sentence brings Janaya’s family some peace.”
At around 10:30pm on February 16, 2018, De’Azha Swain pulled up to a home on Mercer Avenue in Akron to retrieve some personal items. Four young girls, ages two, four, six, and seven, and their grandmother were also inside the vehicle. De’Azha got into an argument with Darnell Bitting, who was inside the home at the time. Bitting came out of the home with an AK-47 and fired the weapon. A shot struck and killed four-year-old Janaya Swain.
U.S. Marshals have arrested Darnell Bitting, 31, of Akron, in connection to the shooting death of a young girl in the city last week.
According to reports, the shooting happened inside a home in the 900 block of Mercer Avenue, Friday night around 10:30. Police say it appears the shooting was the result of a domestic dispute at the home.
When police arrived, four children were inside a car with their grandmother. She told investigators that she and the children's mother arrived at the home to retrieve property from inside the house, but when no one answered the door, she says that the kids' mom broke out several windows. That's when a man came out of the house with a rifle and fired a shot that hit the car, and subsequently one of the children inside the car.
Janaya Swain, 4, was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
On Saturday afternoon, U.S. Marshals arrested Bitting inside a home in the 749 block of Corley Street. He's been charged with murder and having weapons under disability.