A Dayton man was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for his role in the death of a woman who was shot while babysitting earlier this year.
Evans Cassell, 36, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life for complicity to commit murder and three years for a firearms charge in the death of Taylor Brandenburg.
Cassell, who earned 232 days of jail-time credit, is first of three defendants charged in the March 12 murder of Brandenburg, 20. Chuckie Lee, the alleged shooter, and his then-girlfriend Kara Parisi-King, have trials scheduled in early 2018.
“I miss Taylor. I miss her presence. I miss her laughter. I miss my friend, my princess, my sister cousin. I miss talking to someone I used to every day,” said Jennifer Hickman, who read a statement in Judge Gregory Singer’s courtroom.
“Taylor was more than just a babysitter. She was a beautiful soul. She was smart. She had an associate’s degree in applied dental science and was state certified.”
Hickman said Brandenburg came out of a residence on Huffman Avenue to talk to her and that she feels guilty about that. Hickman also described the scene as shots rang out in several directions and rocked the car in which she was sitting.
“There was no time for any of us too because we were deliberately ambushed with a massive amount of gunfire,” Hickman said, later talking directly to Cassell. “Why were you unable to stop yourself from doing such a terrible thing? … There is a huge void in my family and you put it there.”
Montgomery County prosecutors declined to comment on Cassell’s case, citing the upcoming trials of Parisi-King and Lee.
As for Cassell’s brief apology to Brandenburg, her cousin Danielle Ebbe said: “I didn’t really pay attention much what he said because it didn’t matter. … I didn’t feel there was any real remorse from him anyway.
“He didn’t necessarily pull the trigger, but I mean he didn’t do anything to stop it either.”
Ebbe said trying to get closure before the other trials will be difficult.
“It’s still going to be hard for all of us, waiting for that as well,” she said. “But this is a big step, even for that. It’s like one down, now we’ve got to get through these other two. … The other two. They’re not just going to get away with it.”
Hickman said seven girls in the family were so close they called each other sister cousins and that Brandenburg — with green eyes and bouncy, brown, curly hair — was the family’s princess who was looking forward to the birth of her brother’s first child.
“Taylor was fun to be around and she loved her family and being with all of her baby cousins was one of her favorite things to do,” Hickman said. “She just absolutely loved kids.”