Trial continues for teens charged with felony murder - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Trial continues for teens charged with felony murder

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Anthony Sharp Anthony Sharp
Blake Layman Blake Layman
Jose Quiroz Jose Quiroz
Levi Sparks Levi Sparks
The murder trial of 3 Elkhart teens in now underway.  Opening statements started Tuesday.  A jury wasn't seated until Midnight Monday, but as soon as court opened up again Tuesday morning, family members were there.

Members of the family say they are supporting the teens.  "He is my cousin and I'm here to support him all the way," says Justin McGinnis, Levi Sparks' cousin.

He says he will be sitting in the courtroom as long as it takes to hear his cousin Levi Sparks' fate. "I think it raises his spirits more and definitely makes him feel good to know his family is behind him."

Sparks along with suspects Blake Layman and Anthony Sharp are charged with felony murder. In Tuesday's opening statements, the prosecution explained why. The state says on October 3, 2012, Sparks, Layman, Sharp, Danzele Johnson, and Jose Quiroz entered an Elkhart home. They thought it was empty, but the homeowner was sleeping upstairs. The homeowner fired shots, killing Johnson and injuring Layman. The prosecutor sums up the case by saying, "one decision, collectively made by a group of friends resulted in one of them dying."

Layman's mom Angie Johnson says it was difficult listening to the details in court. "I have a hard time hearing the story period and how it went, the whole process of it. I'm learning a lot of different things from court, a lot of pieces from officers that I didn't know."

She says she hates the way things ended. "I know the homeowner had every right to do what he did, to defend his home, I just wish he would have done things differently."

And she will be waiting patiently, along with other family members to watch the rest of the trial unfold. "He's not allowed to respond too much to us, but he does get eye contact once and awhile, it just makes it so hard, I just want to hold him, I want to touch him."

The trial continues Wednesday. We'll have to wait and see if that's when Jose Quiroz will take the stand. He could provide some key testimony.
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