If you live in Elkhart, IN you could be spending 55 years in prison for murder when it is clear you did not even have a weapon and did not murder anyone. It is a true and present case there. We also know that young males between the ages of 16-23 are the most dangerous creatures on earth and commit the most crimes. They are still immature but are in the bodies of grown men. They are unskilled for any job but want lots of cash now. It only takes one afternoon of bad decisions that can change their lives forever. This case involves 5 teen age friends hanging out wanting money and decide they will break into a house and see what money they can find. They picked the house out by thinking that was the one where there is no one home.
One teen kicks the door in and he is shot in the chest and dies, another is shot in the leg; the others run away. The homeowner was asleep upstairs when he heard the door get kicked in. He got his gun and began shooting at the strangers that just broke into his home. He does not get charged for anything. The law in Indiana is called Felony Murder. When felons kill during certain crimes, in this case “burglary” everyone committing that crime can be held responsible even though none of them pulled the trigger or even had a gun. Check out the laws in your state to see if this exists in your town.
The stupid kids were all charged with murder. They were all charged as adults and are facing decades in prison. Maybe we all should own guns. Even though the teens had no intent to kill, even the lookout kid; they were all charged for the murder. Felony Murder is a controversial law and is not in the books in every state. After a short trial each kid is sentenced at least 50 year in jail. The harsh sentences have drawn national attention. Steve Drizin a professor of law at Northwestern University also believes that the amount of years is overkill and needs to be remedied. The teens now live in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. One already has his arm tattooed with his release date of 2040.
The case may go all the way to the Supreme Court if the appeals don’t work for them. The juvenile blame could help the teens. Peer pressure and poor decision making of an immature mind should be stressed at the appeals court. It has been proven that the juvenile brain continues to develop throughout adolescences precisely in the areas that govern judgment and reasoning. Is that an acceptable excuse? A lot of people believe the kids should rot in jail. Teens in a group may do things they might not do on their own. No one wants to be woken up from their sleep to find 5 men in their house looking for money. The Supreme Court has already ruled that no juvenile should face the death penalty nor life without parole because their brains are just not fully developed.
So we should have kids the size of men thinking and possibly committing very adult crimes and let them get away with it because of their age? In this case there were other options that could have been explored. It could have easily been plead down to involuntary manslaughter which is a 15 year sentence. They would have done 7 to 10 years of hard time and still had a life to live. Kids often cannot afford good representation either. This case will be going forward in the Indiana Supreme Court of Appeals. I just find it interesting that the murderer, the homeowner is able to move on with no charges against him. It is the Wild West in Indiana all over again. Keep your gun loaded and by your side because you are your own judge and jury in Indiana.