Goshen Courthouse

Truth file photo

GOSHEN — Jury deliberations continued into the evening Wednesday in the trial of an Elkhart teen for attempted murder.

Byron Harris, 16, was arrested and charged with the Level 1 felony following a shooting outside River Run Apartments on June 11. The victim, who survived being shot in the leg, named Harris as his attacker.

Jurors began their deliberations around 1 p.m. Ahead of that, they heard testimony from two witnesses introduced by Harris’ attorney, though Harris himself did not testify.

His mother, Twanna Warren, said she wished he had given the jury his side of things. She said much of what they heard from the victim Tuesday was wrong, including his claim that Harris mistook him for someone else.

Harris’ lawyer, Jeffrey Majerek, called on Elkhart Police Sgt. Dustin Young to address surveillance footage from the apartment complex that the prosecutor played for jurors Tuesday. It shows someone in a red hoodie, said to be Harris, firing a gun in the direction of a playground out of frame. 

Young said under questioning Wednesday that he had no firsthand knowledge that it was Harris. Majerek pointed out that a second individual standing farther back, wearing all black, also appears to fire a gun.

Young said he didn’t remember if any shell casings were recovered from the area where the second individual stood, but shells might have been found in the area where the one in the red hoodie appeared to fire from.

He also said, when questioned by Deputy Elkhart County Prosecutor Susan Snyder, that there didn’t appear to be any communication between those two individuals. Majerek later suggested that what’s obvious from the video is that there was no plan being acted out.

A firearms expert then testified that two calibers of shell casings were sent to him for examination, two 9mm and one .40 caliber. Ray Wolfenbarger with the South Bend Police Department said he was also given bullet fragments that were removed from the victim’s leg, which he identified as being .40 caliber.

Earlier Wednesday, jurors were called before the judge individually to address something they had learned from another member of the jury that morning: Harris’ age, which had not been shared in court. Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno asked jurors if they understood the information was not evidence, and whether they thought they could disregard it when making a decision in the case.

After hearing the jury’s answers, the two attorneys said they had no objections to allowing the jurors to all remain.

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