Teen would-be burglars convicted of felony murder receive ‘extreme’ 50-year sentences for ‘crimes they didn’t commit’
They were five young men with time on their hands, but the attempted burglary in Elkhart, Ind., turned into the equivalent of life sentences for four of the teens and death for the fifth.
That’s because of Indiana’s felony murder law, which comes into play when anyone is killed during commission of a crime, such as burglary or rape.
In the Elkhart case, the dead man was Danzele Johnson, 21, one of the would-be burglars, shot by Rodney Scott, owner of the house they were trying to rob. He has not been charged with any crime.
Last month, Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker in Goshen, Ind., sentenced Blake Layman, 16 at the time, and Anthony Sharp, 18, to 55 years and Levi Sparks, 17, to half a century behind bars.
Sparks did not enter the house as he was standing on guard. The fourth accused, Jose Quiroz, 16 at the time, got 45 years even though he pleaded guilty.