Summit County Judge Paul Gallagher has imposed the death sentence a jury recommended last month for Dawud Spaulding, 30, of East Buchtel Avenue in Akron. Spaulding shot and killed Erica Singleton and Ernie Thomas and paralyzed Patrick Griffin in a 2011 shooting spree. Judge Gallagher also sentenced Spaulding to 32 years and six months in prison for charges from two other cases of domestic violence toward Singleton and the remaining charges in his murder trial that do not qualify for the death penalty.
Singleton, Spaulding’s girlfriend and mother of his seven-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, had filed for a civil protection order and was in hiding from Spaulding when he murdered her. Spaulding had discovered where Singleton was staying and drove by the house on the morning of December 15, shooting and paralyzing Griffin, who was leaving the home. Later that morning, Spaulding returned to the home and shot and killed Singleton and Thomas, Griffin’s uncle, in the driveway. Because the jury found Spaulding guilty of the specification for murdering two people, Spaulding was eligible to receive the death penalty.
“More than three-quarters of murdered women are stalked by their killers, and this case is unfortunately not an exception. Dawud Spaulding engaged in a pattern of stalking, attacking and terrorizing Erica before he killed her,” said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. “The prosecutors in my Domestic Violence Unit worked hard to ensure justice for Erica Singleton, Ernie Thomas and Patrick Griffin. I thank them, the jury and Judge Paul Gallagher, who presided over this case in the Domestic Violence Court.”
Spaulding is scheduled for execution on March 3, 2014.