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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Jury Sentenced Dallas Man to Life in Prison


Datrail Clayton was sentenced to life in prison for killing Malik Tyler. | Image from Dallas PD

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Jurors have sentenced a 24-year-old Dallas man to life in prison on Tuesday, November 2, for shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy during a shootout in Pleasant Grove.    

Datrail Clayton, 24, was accused of shooting and killing Malik Tyler, 13, as the teenager walked home with friends after playing football and buying snacks at a convenience store.    

During the trial, prosecutors said that Tyler Buchanan fired a weapon from a Chrysler that drove past the convenience store located in the 9400 block of Bruton Road, near North St. Augustine Drive, as the victim and his friends walked home.    

Prosecutors claim that Clayton chased after the Chrysler and fired back. The 24-year-old was in a parked car outside the store when Buchanan opened fire.     

According to prosecutors, one of Clayton’s shots hit Tyler in the back as he and his friends ran away.    

However, Paul Johnson and his son Taylor Johnson, Clayton’s defense lawyers, argued that prosecutors could not prove that Clayton fired the bullet that killed Tyler because the police never found his gun.

They also argued that even if Clayton fired the fatal shot, he did so in self-defense and didn’t mean to kill Tyler.  

Prosecutors pointed to Clayton’s criminal record, which began when he was just twelve. Clayton was also sentenced to two years in prison for three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2017.  

Court records show that Clayton had rejected an offer of a 50-year sentence in return for a guilty plea from him. The deal required that he serve at least 30 years before being eligible for parole.    

The shooting occurred on June 4, 2019, when the 13-year-old victim’s summer vacation from school began.

Tyler had planned to start his eighth grade at the Young Men’s Leadership Academy at Fred F. Florence Middle School in the fall.    

According to the victim’s two friends who were with him at the time of the shooting, Tyler always tried to cheer his friends up by making them laugh. Tyler’s friends also revealed that he liked basketball and wanted to compete in school.    

Clayton’s lawyers have filed a motion to appeal the verdict and sentence. They also filed another motion for a new trial.  

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