Blake Layman prepares for appeal
GOSHEN — A teenager recently convicted of felony murder made an appearance in Elkhart Circuit Court as he prepares to file for appeal.
Layman, 17, of Elkhart, was convicted following a four-day joint trial in August. He and his co-defendants, Levi Sparks, Anthony Sharp and Jose Quiroz, were accused of being responsible for the death of Danzele Johnson, 21, when the group of five planned a break-in at 1919 Frances Ave. on Oct. 3, 2012.
Quiroz, 17, pleaded guilty to felony murder toward the end of 2012.
Layman’s attorney, Cara Weineke of Indianapolis, asked the court to find her client indigent, so that he can obtain a copy of the trial transcript free of charge.
If a person is found indigent, the court may give that person permission to proceed with legal action without having to pay court fees or costs.
Weineke, who was hired as private counsel, explained to the court that it was Layman’s family that hired her, not her client. She said Layman does not have the money to retain her services and therefore should be found indigent.
Anyone can obtain a copy of a court hearing transcript, but each page of a transcript costs $2.80.
Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker pointed out that Sparks and Sharp had also said they planned to file for an appeal, and that he did not know whether the three appeals will be consolidated.
Shewmaker said he would take the matter under advisement and issue a ruling at a later time.