GOSHEN — A man convicted of murder in connection with a fatal shooting in April 2013 was sentenced to 60 years in prison during a hearing Thursday, May 1.
Leeshawn Rodgers, 20, was found guilty of murder for the death of Eddie Johnson, 34, following a three-day jury trial in February.
Eddie Johnson was shot near the corner of Cleveland and Sixth Street in Elkhart on April 30, 2013. Witnesses said at the trial they saw Johnson putting an arm around Rodgers' shoulders and walking around the corner of the house.
Rodgers' sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for March 13, but it was moved to Thursday to allow Rodgers to go under a mental health evaluation.
On Thursday morning Matthew Johnson, Rodgers' attorney, told the court about his client's upbringing. Rodgers was 10 when he was kicked out of his home, and he went through different placements afterward, Matthew Johnson said.
Judge Terry Shewmaker brought up the severity of the crime Rodgers' committed and his attitude during his initial hearing in 2013.
Rodgers was arrested about two weeks after Eddie Johnson's death and during his initial hearing he was wheeled into the courtroom, strapped to a restraining chair. Johnson yelled at the judge about lack of evidence in his case.
Shewmaker also pointed out that children were present at the time of the shooting. The children were outside and had just walked into the house on the corner of Sixth and Cleveland just before the shooting.
Rodgers' criminal history was extensive, starting from the time he was a juvenile, the judge said.
Rodgers' sentence will not be suspended, because probation and alternative placement has not worked with Rodgers in the past, the judge said.
More on Leeshawn Rodgers' trial:
•Jury trial for man charged with murder ongoing
•Indianapolis police officer recounts Leeshawn Rodgers' arrest