Two granted judicial release for role in 2017 fatal shooting

·3 min read

Jul. 30—A Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge granted judicial release on Thursday to a South Toledo man who entered into a plea agreement for his role in a 2017 shooting death prior to the judge's tenure.

Daniel Matney, who is incarcerated at the Richland Correctional Institute, was sentenced by then-sitting Judge Myron Duhart in June, 2019, to four years in prison. Both Matney and Mark Diebert entered into a plea agreement with former assistant prosecutor Drew Wood, which stated prosecutors agreed not to oppose judicial release after they each served two years in prison.

Matney and Diebert, both 36, along with Brandon Stein, 38, assisted their friend, Lonzo Rivers, Sr., 35, as he went to the Stop & Go gas station at South Avenue and Spencer Street to confront Dakoda Rogers on Nov. 20, 2017. Matney, Diebert, and Stein each surrounded Mr. Rogers' vehicle as Rivers approached and shot him.

Mr. Rogers, 25, attempted to flee in his vehicle but crashed into a nearby building. He later died.

Separate juries found Stein and Rivers guilty.

Prior to taking the bench at the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals, Judge Duhart granted Diebert's judicial release, and he was released from the state institution on Wednesday. On Thursday, Matney appeared before Judge Eric Marks, who was appointed to take over for Judge Duhart's vacancy, for the same request.

"I did file a judicial release [request] after you had taken over, understanding that your honor has no obligation to abide by that agreement," Matney's defense attorney Ty Mahaffey told Judge Marks on Thursday. "I would indicate it was the subject and one of the reasons why my client made a plea short of trial to avoid all of the heartache and such on the families."

On Thursday, Mr. Rogers' mother, Stacie Gorsuch, voiced her disapproval of Matney's release.

"I still don't understand this. In my opinion, I still have no peace because justice was not properly served," she said. "My son lost his life. [Matney] still has his life. The others that were involved still have their life."

Judge Marks acknowledged that he wasn't a part of the original plea agreement, but he reviewed it with the former prosecutor. Judge Marks granted Matney's request on Thursday.

"I'm hoping the family can take solace that by you being released today on judicial release, I'll have more direct oversight of you than the adult parole authority would have," Judge Marks told Matney.

Matney remains under community control for five years. He must participate in the county's day reporting program, seek and maintain employment, and have no contact with Mr. Rogers' family.

Diebert will remain under the adult parole authority's watch for three years.

The Sixth District Court of Appeals upheld Rivers' and Steins' convictions. Rivers was previously sentenced to life in prison for killing Mr. Rogers, while Stein is serving a six-year term for his role.

First Published July 29, 2021, 1:18pm

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