Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 12, 2013

50+ years for three young men convicted of murder


— GOSHEN — Three young men convicted of felony murder following a burglary gone awry were sentenced to prison Thursday in Elkhart Circuit Court.

Judge Terry Shewmaker setenced Blake Layman of Elkhart and Anthony Perez Sharp Jr. of Goshen each to 55 years in the Department of Correction. Levi Sparks of Elkhart, whom prosecutors said acted as a lookout, was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

All three defendants, convicted in a Circuit Court jury trial last month, indicated they plan to appeal their sentences.

Layman and Sharp, along with Jose Quiroz of Elkhart and Danzele Johnson of Goshen, broke into the home of Rodney Scott, 1919 Frances Ave., Elkhart, on Oct. 3, 2012. Scott fired several rounds from a .9mm handgun at the intruders. Johnson, 21, was killed. Layman was wounded in the leg.

Prosecutors charged the intruders with felony murder. Under Indiana law, if someone dies during the commission of certain felonies, those who were engaged in the underlying felony can be charged in the person’s death. Burglary is one of the included offenses.

Last year, Quiroz entered a plea deal with Elkhart County prosecutors. He received a 45-year sentence to the Department of Correction, plus 10 years on probation.

Read complete coverage of Thursday’s sentencing in Friday’s Goshen News.