Twitter Goes Crazy as The Dr. Phil Episode on The Elkhart 4 is Taped

There was heated debate and strong messages of support on Twitter as a special episode of The Dr. Phil show was filmed in California.  The episode which focuses on the felony murder convictions of Blake Layman, Levi Sparks, Anthony Sharp and Jose Quiroz should air soon.  We will keep you updated.

Here are a very few of the hundreds of supportive tweets.

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18 comments

  • Free the Elkhart 4!!!!!!!

  • Curtis Hill – you should be ashamed!

  • Do any of you people actually LIVE in Elkhart?!?! Do you know the unemployment rate? The crime Rate? This is not anything new here!
    I’ve lived here my whole life, mostly because I can’t really make enough money to leave…especially now! These kids may be teens, but what they did was make a grown decision and know they need to pay the grown consequences!! And yes, I would say the exact same thing if it were one of my boys!!

    • Thanks for your comment. We do know that things are tough in Elkhart and we have made it very clear that what these boys did was not acceptable in a civilised society and there must be consequences. That being said we do not believe that felony murder was the way to go and we also do not believe that the huge prison sentences given the boys is not appropriate. We do not know what the crime rate in Elkhart is, not because we have not bothered to look, but because Elkhart does not provide crime statistics to anyone — documented at — http://www.elkharttruth.com/article/20130921/OPINION/709219920

      We have also documented how juvenile justice systems in other countries have more success at reforming poor behaviour and they can do this without jailing for decades (How Would Canada Deal With The Elkhart 4).

      We have documented that it will cost the taxpayers of Indiana at least 3.1 million dollars to imprison these boys. Other countries can do it cheaper, with more success and with redemption as the end goal.

      Finally I would like to point out that the Supreme Court of the United States said in a recent decision that the majority of youths who commit crime will not grow up to be life long criminals. The Supreme Court points out that most criminal activity from youths are a function of age and maturity and in the majority of cases youths will grow out of it.

      There is a real possibility for redemption here. The problem is that the political elite are willing to spend more of our hard earned tax dollars to lock these boys up then it would cost to find a compromise and look for redemption.

    • Joni…. Just to clarify… So if your boys rob a house in a non violent manner and one gets shot in the back as they were fleeing scared you believe your other son should get 55 years for 1st degree murder??

    • concerned citizen

      @Joni, I don’t for a second believe that you’d feel the same way if it were your child. When life hits close to home, we abruptly become aware that life circumstances are not always black and white. Children make mistakes (as do adults). Nobody is arguing that the boys are faultless here; but charge them with the crime they committed. Hold them accountable for their own actions, not the actions of someone else.

  • I live in that area and do believe justice was served. They had a plan when they went in and if the home owner had not woken up he probably would of been the one dead. One of the boys paid with is life and the others got jail. They too could be dead.. Wake up people if they are old enough to be out skipping school and running the streets w/o adults supervision or driving a car, they are old enough to do the time.

    • Thanks for your comment. In Indiana you need to be 18 to vote, serve in the military and get married (without parental permission). You need to be 21 to have a drink of alcohol. There is real and significant research on brain development that shows that teenagers are different from adults, especially when it comes to decision making and peer pressure. This scientific evidence has been used successfully at the US Supreme Court to fundamentally change the way juveniles should be dealt with in the justice system.

      Crime statistics are clear ‘do the crime do the time’ does not work. There are exciting things going on around the world in criminal justice where redemption for teenagers is the goal rather than the archaic sentences that happened in this case. If you have some time read some of our articles for example — How Would Canada Deal With The Elkhart 4?

      Your post is full of conjecture, that can’t be backed up by research or logic. The most effective justice policies are the ones based on evidence, not gut feelings and conjecture.

    • I lived in Elkhart all of my youth life. Lived in the middle of crime, seen alot, been in alot and Now that im older, see the wrong in alot. I dont agree with what these boys have done and do think they should be punished for that. But too be punished for more and sentenced for more then should be, is unjust. Ur judging them by hunches and not by facts. They didnt murder anybody.

  • Richard, the only thing well documented in your many posts is your dislike for a group of teenagers!

    You have constantly said that “46/50 states have the felony murder rule”. A recent ruling of the West Virginia Supreme Court noted that the majority of those states do not allow felony murder to apply when a co-perpetrator is killed (exactly what happened in the case of the Elkhart 4). We believe the West Virginia Supreme Court.

    You say “there is nothing wrong with the application of the law”. In a recent interview on WSBT 22 Ryan Dvorak Indiana State Representative said “If you actually read the statute, the language of the statute probably would not apply to the kids in this case” — We believe Ryan Dvorak and are very concerned with the ambiguity of the law, especially in light of the West Virginia Supreme Court Ruling that supports our point of view and demands that laws with such consequences have a clarity debated by the legislator (like the laws in Oklahoma and Florida).

    You do not believe that these teenagers can lead a productive life outside of jail. The United States Supreme Court in a recent and land mark ruling (Roper v. Simmons) said “Juveniles’ susceptibility to immature and irresponsible behavior means “their irresponsible conduct is not as morally reprehensible as that of an adult.” The court goes on to say that majority of youth who commit crimes will not grow up to be lifetime offenders, and that even experts cannot differentiate between the offenders whose crimes are merely a function of their age and immaturity and those rare juvenile offenders whose crimes will persist throughout their life. Jose, Levi and Blake are juveniles– We believe the Supreme Court of The United States

    Hatred, stubbornness and spouting off opinions without reading and documenting sources is a very poor debate technique. This is a site about hope, justice and redemption. There is not a lot of room for hatred . . . especially when combined with ignorance and an inability to show sources and where you got your information from.

  • Thats not gonna happen!!

  • Just because the law exists doesnt mean the law is correct. Yes a crime was committed. So let the time and the charge fit the crime.
    These are man made laws. They are and can be challenged.
    Plus society needs to remember that everything u read and hear in the media or newspapers are not always correct. I Know This From First Hand Experience. Do not pass judgment until u know all the facts. Trust me, only then can u have a clearer picture.

    • Rebecca, I would go one step further and suggest that the felony murder law as written should not have been applied in this case. There is nothing in the Indiana written law that suggests that the death of a co-perpetrator is felony murder in the state. In fact an Indiana State Representative, Ryan Dvorak, said in a recent interview, “If you actually read the statute, the language of the statute probably would not apply to the kids in this case”. We examine this in great detail in our article Is Curtis Hill Using the Case of The Elkhart 4 to Expand Felony Murder in Indiana. I would argue very strongly that the way Curtis Hill applied the felony murder rule in this case is not how the law was written. Until(and if) the Indiana Supreme Court affirms these convictions or the legislature changes the definition of felony murder I will continue to argue that the law was not properly applied in this case. Even if the Indiana Supreme Court affirms these convictions I hope the Elkhart 4 and their lawyers take it all the way to the US Supreme Court. The way this law is written is way too ambiguous for this to be fair justice.

      • @ freetheelkhart4. Ur are absolutely correct. Us mothers are gonna fight for our sons. We greatly appreciate the support from everyone. I totally understand everyone has and is entitled to their own opinions, no matter how cruel they sound.
        God forbid whomever has harsh feelings on this case and wants to point fingers at the parents. Just keep an open mind on the facts plz. Just a loving mother.

  • i too live in elkhart and here u serve not even 20 years for molestation.my cousin levi gets 55 years for loosing a loved one.in my opion curtis hill should be addmited to a state hospital for evaluation becauce anyone in the rite state of mind can blindly see that they commited a crime called home invasion not MURDER!!!!!