Dozens rally in Elkhart in support of dropping teens' murder charges

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

More than 30 people rallied in downtown Elkhart Wednesday.

They were hoping to get murder charges dropped for four teens involved in a botched home invasion last year that left one person dead.

That's according to our reporting partners at the Elkhart Truth.

Last October, five young men broke into a home in the 1900 block of Frances Avenue.

The homeowner confronted the intruders and fired a gun, killing Danzele Johnson, 21.

Jose Quiroz, 17, pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 45 years in prison and 10 years probation.

Blake Layman and Levi Sparks, both 17, and Anthony Sharp, 18, were also charged with felony murder.

Friends and family members protested this afternoon at civic plaza.

They are asking the Elkhart County Prosecutor to charge the teens with lesser crimes.

While they didn't pull the trigger, under Indiana law, their involvement in the burglary makes them responsible for their friend's death.

The family of one of the suspects, Blake Layman, has started an online petition to get the teens' charges reduced.

As of tonight, it has more than 17-hundred signatures.

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