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Tyrus Coleman's attempted murder case goes to Indiana Supreme Court

He's been acquitted of murder and convicted of attempted murder, only to have that conviction overturned. That didn't close the case for Tyrus Coleman, however, after the Indiana Supreme Court took his case late last week.

Posted on Sept. 3, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN -- He's been acquitted of murder and convicted of attempted murder, only to have that conviction overturned. That didn't close the case for Tyrus Coleman, however, after the Indiana Supreme Court took his case late last week.

The five justices of the state's highest court will hear oral arguments Sept. 16, they ruled Monday after taking his case and overruling the appeals court's dismissal of his conviction.

Here's what happened in the case.

THE INCIDENT

In November 2006, Anthony Dye was robbed in Elkhart. When his son, Jermaine Jackson, 20, learned about it months later, he was angry.

He went to Coleman's music studio, located in a building outside a home on West Cleveland Avenue in Elkhart. Jackson tried to force his way into the studio, brandishing his gun, to get at the robber, one of Coleman's recording artists.

Coleman got Jackson to back out of the building and cool down, but Jackson called his father.

Dye, who'd been wounded in a past shoot-out with police, walked into Coleman's yard, gun in hand. As Dye walked toward Jackson, Coleman stepped up beside Dye and shot him in the head, then in the torso as Dye went down. Coleman turned toward Jackson, who had drawn his gun, and the two exchanged fire.

Dye survived, but Jackson didn't. Coleman escaped unharmed.

The entire incident, from Jackson's arrival at Coleman's studio to the aftermath of the shooting, was recorded on Coleman's security cameras.

THE FIRST TRIAL

Coleman went on trial in Elkhart Circuit Court for murder and attempted murder in February 2008.

It took jurors 11 hours of deliberations. They found Coleman wasn't guilty of murder in Jackson's death, but they couldn't agree on whether his shooting of Dye was justified by Coleman's fear of Dye.

Their failure to reach a verdict meant another jury would have to hear the attempted-murder case again.

THE SECOND TRIAL

Coleman's second trial, also in Elkhart Circuit Court, took place in March 2009, two years after the shooting.

This time, it took the jury only 75 minutes to convict Coleman of attempted murder.

Judge Terry Shewmaker sentenced Coleman to 45 years in prison last April.

THE APPEAL

Coleman appealed, and in March of this year the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in his favor by a split vote, with two judges ruling for him and one disagreeing.

The two who ruled for Coleman reasoned that the first jury's failure to reach a verdict basically ruled in Coleman's favor, saying "The jury must have necessarily decided that Coleman's use of force against Dye was also not a crime." The dissenting judge said, though, it was reasonable to believe that Coleman didn't fear for his life when he shot Dye, but did fear for his life when exchanging fire with Jackson.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office immediately asked the full 15-member appeals court to reconsider the case, but they declined.

THE FUTURE

Coleman remains in prison, though, because Zoeller's office then asked the Indiana Supreme Court to take the case.

The justices will quiz attorneys for both sides for 40 minutes.

After the justices hear the arguments in Indianapolis, they'll do research and deliberate before issuing their ruling in the case.




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