County prosecutor not ruling out death penalty in Mansfield couple’s homicide case

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On Tuesday the Montgomery County Prosecutor did not rule out the death penalty in the case of the murdered Mansfield couple. So far, no homicide charges have been filed against anyone. But Prosecutor Mat Heck is talking about the next steps. 

He was careful to say no decisions have been made yet as police detectives and the coroner continue to investigate, adding that his office is still open to filing a wide variety of possible charges. 

Prosecutor Heck says, “It could be a number of things, whether it’s abduction or kidnapping, obviously, because of the homicide involved. So, it could be a number of things.” 

Heck is not taking anything off the table, including the death penalty, when he spoke about potential charges connected to the homicides of Kyla Hayton and Todd Burkhart. Burkhart’s body was found Friday, Hayton’s on Monday. Kyla Hayton was 5 months pregnant; her unborn child did not survive. 

Prosecutor Heck says, “Once the detectives finish their investigation, we’ll review it with them to see what the charges should be and whether any charges should be in line and appropriate because she was pregnant.” 

Heck says his office and detectives have a lot to sift through, especially the speculation about why the couple drove two hours from Mansfield to Dayton in the first place. “There’s been some suggestions of why, but I don’t think they really know exactly why the two came down here. I know there was some connection between the male victim knowing one of the people down here, but other than that it’s just too early.” 

Larry Rodgers is the sole person of interest but is only facing weapons charges right now. Heck acknowledges the legal process is time consuming. “I have faith and confidence that the police department will get to the bottom of it, that they’ll find out what happened, and that justice will prevail.” 

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