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Jury recommends life without parole in Lexington Marine murder

Posted at 2:18 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 06:38:14-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A jury recommended life in prison without parole for the man found guilty of murder in the death of a Lexington Marine.

On Monday, a jury found Dawan Mulazim guilty of six counts, including murder and robbery.

Marine Jonathan Price was shot and killed outside of Austin City Saloon in 2014. Price's wife, Megan, was also shot, but she survived. They were out celebrating her birthday.

Mulazim and Quincinio Canada were both charged with Price's murder. Canada was acquitted of his murder and the jury failed to reach a verdict on Mulazim. The two were found guilty of unrelated robbery charges for which Mulazim was sentenced to 60 years and Canada to 50 .

During the sentencing phase on Wednesday, the defense called an expert to the stand to discuss census data and different analytics about crime and poverty levels in different areas of Lexington. Mulazim's childhood friend described when the Mulazim family moved to Lexington's East End, saying it was a high traffic area where they were exposed to drugs at a young age.

Another friend took the stand to say that Mulazim was there for her during difficult times in her life, saying, "He still has a heart."

Mulazim's niece took the stand asking the jury to "remember that this isn't just affecting his life" but the life of all of his relatives too. When the defense asked her why she wanted to testify, she said, "I don't want to lose my uncle."

Another one of his nieces started sobbing while talking about the possibility of losing him saying, "I won’t have nobody to talk to. Nobody will be there," to which Mulazim called out, "I'm always going to be there."

Many in the courtroom were in tears.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kathyrn Webster said to the jury, "I want you to think about Megan Price, now going to Jonathan's grave every year on her birthday." She continued on to later say, "He's not sorry." Webster tearfully said in her closing arguments that Mulazim has shown no remorse and that none of the people who testified on Mulazim's behalf Wednesday expressed condolences for the Price family.

"I’m asking you all to give him a sentence that will ensure that he doesn’t hurt anybody else," said Webster. She said that life with the eligibility for parole is not enough of a punishment for Mulazim.

After three hours of deliberations, the jury recommended he be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

They recommended 20 years for robbery, 15 years for complicity to robbery, 10 years for assault, and 30 years for being a persistent felony offender. Those sentences would be served concurrently, which means all sentences will be served at the same time.

The formal sentencing will take place on December 20th.

On Tuesday, Price's widow told the court that she no longer celebrates birthdays anymore. When the prosecutor asked her why, she said, "Because it reminds me of the worst day of my life." The newlyweds had only been married nine months when they were shot.

Debbie Price told the court about what it was like to lose her only child, and how difficult it is knowing she will never have grandchildren. She said, "I've got a Jonathan sized hole in my heart."

Mulazim's mother told the court on Tuesday that the family struggled with no solid father figure and said regardless of everything, Mulazim would always be her baby.