Akron Man Found Guilty of Kidnapping and Killing in Cascade Valley Murder Case

Akron, Ohio – A 34-year-old man from Akron, Luther Easter Jr., was found guilty by a Summit County jury on Thursday of kidnapping and murdering a man in Akron’s Cascade Valley in 2022. He was convicted of several charges, including aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, and tampering with evidence, while being acquitted of other charges related to the case. The jury’s verdict came after a nearly week-long trial that was emotionally charged with outbursts from family members and onlookers.

Easter, represented by attorneys David Lowry and Walter Madison, is scheduled to be sentenced in Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien’s courtroom on April 2. His legal team expressed the tragedy of the situation and stated that they would explore all legal options following the verdict.

The victim, Dartanian Howard, was fatally shot in a Cascade Valley parking lot on September 19, 2022. Akron police responded to the scene and found Howard with multiple gunshot wounds, leading to his tragic death just minutes later. A Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was due to multiple gunshot wounds, ruling it as a homicide.

Laurelin Flanagan, who lured Howard to the parking lot where Easter and an accomplice killed him, had previously pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for testifying in Easter’s trial. She was sentenced to 13 to 18 years for voluntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Easter’s conviction marks the second guilty verdict in Howard’s death, bringing a sense of closure to the legal proceedings surrounding this tragic event.