GOSHEN — Leeshawn Rodgers appeared in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday morning to face murder charges in the April shooting death of Eddie Johnson and was removed from the courtroom while yelling about a lack of evidence in the case.
Rodgers, 19, was wheeled into the courtroom on Thursday, May 23, strapped to a restraint chair which left him able only to shake his head and wiggle his fingers.
Two Elkhart County officers stood behind him for the short proceedings.
Judge Terry Shewmaker advised Rodgers of the charges against him, which carry a sentence of 45 to 65 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. The advisory sentence is 55 years.
Rodgers said he plans to hire his own attorney.
Shewmaker asked if Rodgers had any questions for the court.
“Y’all got me down here on the lack of this evidence,” Rodgers said, raising his voice and cursing.
“I advise you to watch your language,” Shewmaker said. “You are in a court of law.”
“Make sure you got some evidence next time you bring me down here!” Rodgers yelled as the officers wheeled him out of the courtroom.
An attorney status conference is scheduled for May 30. His trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, Oct. 14.
Johnson was shot at 4:20 p.m. April 30 while standing in the front yard of a home at Cleveland Avenue and Sixth Street in Elkhart. He was transported to Elkhart General Hospital by bystanders and was pronounced dead.
Rodgers was arrested in Indianapolis on May 13 and transported back to Elkhart County on Wednesday.