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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dr. Phil to air episode on Elkhart teens convicted of murder

Dr. Phil representatives have confirmed an episode featuring a local criminal case will air later this month.
Haley Coomes and Sharon Hernandez
Posted on Jan. 8, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 8, 2014 at 6:43 p.m.

ELKHART — Dr. Phil representatives have confirmed an episode featuring a local criminal case will air later this month.

Angela Hughes, the executive producer of the Dr. Phil show, confirmed an episode on four Elkhart teens convicted of felony murder will air at 3 p.m. EST on Friday, Jan. 17.

Blake Layman, 17; Levi Sparks, 18; and Anthony Sharp, 19; and Jose Quiroz, 18, were arrested following a break-in at 1919 Frances Ave. on Oct. 3, 2012, and were later charged with felony murder.

During the break-in, the homeowner, who was sleeping on the second floor, was woken up by the intrusion and fatally shot 21-year-old Danzele Johnson, who was one of the suspects.

While Quiroz pleaded guilty in November 2012, Layman, Sparks and Sharp went to trial. The teens were found guilty of felony murder on Aug. 22, 2013, and were sentenced on Sept. 12, 2013.

Although the teenagers and their families claimed they had no intention of killing anyone, —and the did not pull the trigger— they were charged with felony murder under Indiana law.

In Indiana, a person committing a felony can be charged with felony murder if another person dies during the commission of the crime, even if the person that died was a co-conspirator.

The teens' families rallied a few times, asking the prosecutor's office to amend the charges.

At least one of the defendants, Layman, is planning on appealing his conviction.

Dr. Phil will interview Layman, Sparks and Sharp via satellite during the episode and talk to a juror from the case, Dr. Phil's website said. Dr. Phil will also speak to CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin about the application of the felony murder law to adolescents.

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