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>>

  • Motorcycle driver seriously injured in crash

    Motorcycle driver seriously injured in crash

    A motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital by Medflight after a crash Sunday afternoon.It happened on County Road 2, east of State Road 13 near Middlebury. Police say a car turned into the path of the motorcycle and crashed into him.The driver was thrown from the motorcycle. He was flown to the hospital with life-threatening head injuries. The car spun into a parked car after colliding with the motorcycle. That driver wasn't injured.More >>
    A motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital by Medflight after a crash Sunday afternoon.It happened on County Road 2, east of State Road 13 near Middlebury. Police say a car turned into the path of the motorcycle and crashed into him.The driver was thrown from the motorcycle. He was flown to the hospital with life-threatening head injuries. The car spun into a parked car after colliding with the motorcycle. That driver wasn't injured.More >>
  • Timeline of violence in South Bend

    Timeline of violence in South Bend

    Seven people have been killed in South Bend since the beginning of this year.  They aren't just another statistic, though.  They are people that have real families who are suffering.  The first victimMore >>
    Seven people have been killed in South Bend since the beginning of this year.  They aren't just another statistic, though.  They are people that have real families who are suffering.  The first victimMore >>
  • FOX28 News Alert

    UPDATE: Additional suspect in toddler shooting arrested, 1 still at large

    UPDATE: Additional suspect in toddler shooting arrested, 1 still at large

    County Metro Homicide tells FOX28 that one of the suspects wanted in connection with the death of John Swoveland, Jr., has been arrested. Police say 19-year-old Robert Griffin was taken into custody.More >>
    County Metro Homicide tells FOX28 that one of the suspects wanted in connection with the death of John Swoveland, Jr., has been arrested. Police say 19-year-old Robert Griffin was taken into custody at Hickory Villiage apartments in Mishawaka this afternoon.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.