A group of local teens convicted last year of felony murder will be featured this weekend on an episode of ABC’s “Nightline Prime.”
The story of the “Elkhart 4” — Blake Layman, Jose Quiroz, Anthony Sharp and Levi Sparks — will be examined in the episode, which airs at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 26, according to a report from broadwayworld.com.
The teens were charged with felony murder in the October 2012 death of Danzele Johnson during an attempted burglary on Frances Avenue.
Johnson was shot by the homeowner and the four surviving co-conspirators were charged in his death.
Under Indiana law, if anyone dies during the commission of a felony, everyone involved in that felony can be charged with murder, even if it’s a conspirator who dies.
Quiroz, who pleaded guilty in November 2012 and was sentenced to 45 years in prison, cannot appeal his conviction or sentence because of the plea deal.
Layman, Sharp and Sparks were found guilty by a jury and were sentenced in August 2013. Layman and Sharp received a sentence of 55 years in prison. Sparks received a 50-year sentence.
All three have appealed their convictions and sentences with the Indiana Court of Appeals. The court has not yet issued any rulings on the appeals.
The teens’ case was featured on an episode of the Dr. Phil Show in January 2014, with Layman, Sharp and Sparks appearing for an interview via satellite.
Family and friends of the teens have argued that the felony murder charge does not fit the crime the group committed. They said that while the teens did break the law by committing a burglary, they did not kill Johnson themselves and therefore should not have been charged for his murder.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story included an incorrect date. It has been updated and is now correct.