GOSHEN (AP) — A judge sentenced three northern Indiana teenagers to 50 or more years in prison Thursday on murder convictions in a case in which an accomplice was fatally shot by a homeowner during a break-in.
Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker sentenced Blake Layman, 17, of Elkhart and Anthony Perez Sharp Jr., 19, of Goshen to 55 years in prison and Levi Sparks, 18, of Elkhart to 50 years in prison. Prosecutors say Sparks acted as a lookout during the Oct. 3, 2012, break-in.
The three defendants convicted by a jury last month indicated they planned to appeal their sentences.
They faced felony murder charges under state law because they were committing a crime at the time an accomplice, 21-year-old Danzele Johnson, was fatally wounded. Homeowner Rodney Scott of Elkhart heard Layman, Sparks, Sharp and Johnson break into the house about 15 miles east of South Bend and opened fire on them. Layman was wounded in the leg.
Layman spoke in court Thursday for the first time since the invasion happened.
“I’m truly sorry for Rodney Scott. I also want to apologize to Danzelle Johnson’s family for the loss,” Layman told the judge. “I wish there was some way I could go back and change what happened that day.”
Another accomplice, 17-year-old Jose Quiroz, pleaded guilty to felony murder last November and was sentenced to 45 years in prison and 10 years on probation.