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Judge sentences Kent State killer to death

Published: Nov. 15, 2016 at 3:15 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM EST
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Nicholas Massa, 18, was found dead inside a Kent apartment on Feb. 7. (Source: Facebook)
Nicholas Massa, 18, was found dead inside a Kent apartment on Feb. 7. (Source: Facebook)

KENT, OH (WOIO) - A judge has sentenced gunman Damantae Graham to death for the Feb . 7 murder of 18-year-old Kent State University freshman Nicholas Massa.

Massa was killed during a robbery attempt on Super Bowl Sunday in an off-campus apartment. Graham, along with co-defendants Ty Kremling, 18, Marquis Grier, 18, and Anton Planicka, 18, all faced charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

Prosecutors said Kremling and Planicka, who were classmates at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, planned to rob former classmate and marijuana dealer Connor Haithcock at his apartment. Kremling's cousin Grier, along with Graham, were also part of the plan.

Kremling, Grier and Graham entered the apartment, armed with guns, while Planicka waited in the car as the get-away driver. Haithcock, Massa and Haitchcock's roommate Justin Lewandowski were all inside.

All three of Graham's co-defendants testified that he was the one who shot Massa. Lewandowski said that Graham threatened Massa and shot him once in the chest after Massa responded, "You aren't going to shoot me."

Kremling was arrested a few hours after the crime after Haitchcock identified him to police. Grier was arrested Feb. 10 during a traffic stop. Planicka was arrested and charged in June.

Graham was arrested Feb. 12 after being found hiding in a bathroom cabinet in a house in Ravenna.

Graham's trial began on Oct. 25. He was found guilty on all six counts. As the only one who was legally an adult at the time of the crime, Graham is the only defendant eligible for the death penalty.

The trials for Kremling, Grier and Planicka are scheduled to begin Nov. 22 in front of Judge Pittman.

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