A man found guilty last year of murdering a Marine in Lexington six years ago was sentenced Thursday to life without parole.
Dawan Mulazim, 36, was convicted in 2018 on charges related to a robbery at Quality Inn days before the shooting that killed Jonathan Price and injured his wife, Megan Price. After a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the murder charge in 2018, Mulazim was sent back to trial in October of 2019.
Following the six-day trial, Mulazim was found guilty of intentional murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault in the 2014 Austin City Saloon shooting, though the jury could not determine if Mulazim was the “principal” offender or complicit. He was also found guilty of complicity to first-degree robbery in connection with the attack on the Prices.
While Mulzaim was eligible for the death penalty, the jury recommended a life sentence without parole. Fayette Judge Julie Muth Goodman followed the recommendation Thursday and imposed a life sentence without the possibility of parole, plus 78 years to run concurrently.
He was already serving a 60-year sentence for the Quality Inn robbery and an evidence tampering conviction, in addition to a robbery sentence out of Louisville.
The Prices were at Austin City Saloon celebrating Megan Price’s birthday on the night of June 20 and into the morning of June 21, 2014. The two were in the parking lot talking at about 1:30 a.m. when they were approached by two men with guns. Jonathan Price was fatally shot in the back, and Megan Price was shot in the leg.
After the sentencing Thursday, Megan and Debbie Price were asked if Mulazim’s sentence would bring closure.
“Not as far as far as bringing back Jonathan,” Debbie Price said. “But it helps knowing that he can’t hurt anyone else like he’s hurt us.”
In the more than five years since Jonathan Price’s death, the court process has been emotional for everyone involved. Assistant commonwealth’s attorney Kimberly Baird said Thursday that the prosecutors in the case have grown close to family over the years.
“I hope it brings a little bit of comfort and a little bit of peace to both Megan and Debbie, that they can kind of continue on now knowing this is done, knowing the man that has forever changed their lives is forever behind bars,” Baird said Thursday.
Megan Price testified at trial that her husband’s death left her lost and broken, while his mother, Debbie Price, said there had been a “Jonathan-sized hole” in her heart since her son’s death.
“Jonathan’s memory still is very much alive,” Debbie Price said Thursday. “We hear new stories every month, we hear of people doing things in his memory still, just as recently as a couple of weeks ago. I think Jonathan, his memory will always be alive.”
Mulazim’s nephew, Quincinio Canada, was acquitted in 2018 of charges related to Jonathan Price’s death. Canada was convicted on charges related to the Quality Inn robbery and is serving a 70-year sentence.
Immediately following Thursday’s sentencing, Mulazim was turned over to the Kentucky Department of Corrections. He is already serving a prison sentence on his prior robbery convictions.
Mulazim and his attorneys will have the option to file an appeal in the case.
© 2020 the Lexington Herald-Leader
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.