Jurors convict 2 Topeka men of 2 different murders

Local News

Davontra Alston, left, and Darren Matthew Johnson.

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Two Topeka men have been found guilty Thursday in two separate Topeka murder cases, according to the Shawnee County District Attorney.

Davontra Alston has been convicted of the following charges:

  • Premeditated first-degree murder
  • First-degree murder during an inherently dangerous felony
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder
  • Criminal discharge of a firearm into an occupied car

Alston was one of three men arrested for the murder of D’Angelo Payne on April 4, 2020. Police went that day to Southwest 5th Street and Southwest Western Avenue, where they found Payne shot in the head in a car.

James Boatwright and Diquan Clayton were also arrested for that shooting and each faced murder charges. Kagay said Alston’s sentencing is set for Sept. 10 in Shawnee County District Court.

In a trial for a separate robbery that ended in a deadly crash, Darren Matthew Johnson has been convicted of the following charges:

  • First-degree murder during an inherently dangerous felony
  • Reckless second-degree murder
  • Fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement
  • Aggravated robbery

Police went June 22, 2020, to the 300 block of Southeast Lawrence Street when a driver told them two men stole their black Kia at gunpoint. After a brief chase where police lost the Kia, the driver lost control of the Kia and it crashed into a pickup truck.

Officers found Ricardo J. Rodriguez, 20, of Topeka, dead in the backseat and charged Johnson with killing him. Johnson will be sentenced July 16.

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