Reaction a day after Elkhart teens convicted of felony murder - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Reaction a day after Elkhart teens convicted of felony murder

Posted:

Some are calling it an over reach but the Prosecutor says people have to be held accountable for their actions.  Late Thursday night a jury convicted three teenage boys of felony murder.  After they broke into a home last year and the home owner shot and killed one of the teens.

Family and friends were screaming and sobbing Thursday night after the verdicts were read.  Friday they told FOX28 over the phone they're shocked the jury went with the harshest charge. They've maintained the charge was too harsh from the start.  Blake Layman's Godmother Summer Gary-Slack said, "I believe the felony murder law in this case is not appropriate."

It's something people in the community and even lawyers not associated with the case have struggled with, including Indiana Defense Attorney Ross Thomas.  "Certainly the example of these boys up there is a prime example of overreach in my opinion," said Thomas.

But Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill said someone has to be held accountable for the death.  "If you start a fire your responsible for all it burns, even if it burns you...and that's the basis of felony murder," said Hill.

The charge applies to someone who kills someone during a crime like burglary or arson.  But it also can be leveled when that crime leads to the death of any person.  "Someone has committed a felony and during the commission of a felony someone dies," said Hill.

One notable case involving felony murder is Palmer Vs. the State of Indiana.  Palmer was accused of helping someone escape from police custody.   Officers shot and killed the person trying to escape but Palmer was charged with the murder.    

Curtis Hill said, "felony murder is based on statutory law but there are case law interpretations that provide additional information on when it's appropriate."

When it's appropriate is still up for debate outside the courthouse walls.  Hill said, "they had a plan and the plan went wrong and as a result the death occurred.  The fact that the death occurred to one of their compadres does not negate the law."  While Thomas said, "to me murder ought to be murder.  It ought to be an intentional act...the traditional definition. "

Blake Layman's Godmother Friday told FOX28 that family members didn't want to go on camera...they're still in shock.  She said right now they're just trying to support each other.  They have talked to the boys and she said they're upset but they're staying strong.  She also said quote, "we're not giving up."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Vehicle crashes into apartment in Elkhart in early-morning accident

    Vehicle crashes into apartment in Elkhart in early-morning accident

    Residents were shaken up in an Elkhart apartment Wednesday morning after a vehicle crashed into a building.It happened just before 3:00am at the corner of Michigan St. and Strong Ave. Residents say the car broke through the wall and entered their living room.More >>
    Residents were shaken up in an Elkhart apartment Wednesday morning after a vehicle crashed into a building.It happened just before 3:00am at the corner of Michigan St. and Strong Ave. Residents say the car broke through the wall and entered their living room.
    More >>
  • Boy scout finds marijuana plants in city park

    Boy scout finds marijuana plants in city park

    Will Kercher was working on removing invasive plants in Abshire Park Monday morningwhen he came across a different kind of "invasive" species...marijuana plants. Kercher, seventeen, was taking before pictures ofa wooded area in thepark. He was documenting the area before he helped clear it of bush honeysuckle when he came across four potted marijuana plants. He took a picture and then went to tellAaron Sawatsy-Kingsley, Goshen's City Forester.More >>
    Will Kercher was working on removing invasive plants in Abshire Park Monday morningwhen he came across a different kind of "invasive" species...marijuana plants. Kercher, seventeen, was taking before pictures ofa wooded area in thepark. He was documenting the area before he helped clear it of bush honeysuckle when he came across four potted marijuana plants. He took a picture and then went to tellAaron Sawatsy-Kingsley, Goshen's City Forester. More >>
  • Abused Elkhart woman finds freedom though new program

    Abused Elkhart woman finds freedom though new program

    Elkhart abused woman finds freedom through YWCA and Elkhart County Prosecutor partnership Elkhart abused woman finds freedom through YWCA and Elkhart County Prosecutor partnership
    Ana* is a 22-year-old mother. She's Mexican and doesn't speak English. She is also a domestic abuse survivor.More >>
    Ana* is a 22-year-old mother. She's Mexican and doesn't speak English. She is also a domestic abuse survivor.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.