Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 12, 2013

Elkhart man sentenced to 55 years in prison for death of cohort


THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — Blake Layman, one of three men convicted Aug. 23 of murder, was sentenced to 55 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections in Elkhart Circuit Court this morning.

Layman indicated to the court he plans to appeal.

The other two men, Anthony Perez Sharp Jr. and Levi Sparks will be sentenced this afternoon.

On Oct. 3, 2012, Sharp and Danzele Johnson of Goshen and Layman and Jose Quiroz of Elkhart broke into the home of Rodney Scott, 1919 Frances Ave, Elkhart. Investigators said Sparks was the lookout across the street.



Scott confronted the intruders and fired several shots from a .9mm handgun. Johnson, 21, died after one of the bullets struck his chest and went through his heart. Layman was shot in the leg. Both Johnson and Layman were found by police inside the home.



Investigators said Sharp and Quiroz fled the residence, with Quiroz knocking over a dresser and breaking through a window to escape. He was arrested by police after a foot pursuit.



Prosecutors also alleged that one of the intruders armed himself with a knife from a knifeblock in Scott’s
kitchen. That knife was found discarded outside a neighbor’s garage.



Defense attorneys would later stress in court that the teens thought no one was home when they broke in.



Prosecutors charged the youths with felony murder. Under Indiana law, if someone dies during the commission of a felony, those who were engaged in the underlying felony can be charged in the person’s death.



Quiroz, who lived across the street from Scott, entered a plea deal with Elkhart County prosecutors. He received a 45-year sentence to the Department of Correction, plus 10 years on probation.