Who are The Elkhart 4? and Frequently Asked Questions

 

The Case of The Elkhart 4

In October 2012 four teens and one young adult from Elkhart County Indiana made a horrible decision that would change their lives forever.  Not in school they decided one afternoon to break into a house.  They knocked on doors and decided that one house was empty.  Jose Quiroz (age 16), Blake Layman (age 16), Anthony Sharp (Age 18) and Danzele Johnson (age 21) broke into the house.  Levi Sparks (age 17) waited on the porch of the house across the street.

DanzeleJohnson

Danzele Johnson

Sleeping in the house at the time was Rodney Scott, the homeowner.  Mr. Scott was awoken by the noise of the burglary.  He grabbed his gun and shot several times.  The bullets killed 21-year-old Danzele Johnson and wounded 16-year-old Blake Layman.

Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill made the decision to charge Blake, Jose, Levi and Anthony with felony murder for the death of Danzele Johnson.  All were charged as adults.  In some states felony murder is a law, which states that if someone dies during the commission of a felony everyone involved in the felony can be charged with first-degree murder.  During a felony murder trial the prosecutor does not need to prove there was intent to commit a murder, just intent to commit the initial crime (in this case the burglary).  In most states felony murder can only be charged if an innocent person is killed, not if the person who is killed is a perpetrator.  Things are a little less clear in Indiana (see FAQ for an explaination).

16 year old Jose Quiroz accepted a plea deal.   At sentencing Jose Quiroz said he wanted to withdrawal the deal.  Judge Terry Shewmaker denied this request and sentenced a sixteen-year-old boy to 45 years in prison for a murder he did not do.

Blake Layman, Levi Sparks and Anthony Sharp went to trial in August of 2013.  The trial lasted four days and was rushed.  On the final day of the trial the judge refused to let the jury leave until they had reached a verdict.  At 11:00 pm the jury returned with a guilty verdict.  On September 12, 2013 Judge Shewmaker sentenced Blake Layman and Anthony Sparks to 55 years in prison and Levi Sparks to 50 years in prison.  Again for a murder they did not do.

Northwestern University Professor Steve Drizin writing about The Elkhart 4 in the Huffington Post stated,

Felony murder statutes should not apply to children and adolescents. Such statutes rely on an assumption that an individual who takes part in a felony understands the risk that someone may get killed in the course of the felony. However, adolescent development and brain science research show that, compared with adults, children and teenagers are less able to perceive and assess risks. This research confirms what common sense tells us: adolescents are less capable decision-makers than adults — they are more impulsive, less risk-averse, and have difficulty assessing the consequences of their actions, often prioritizing short-term rewards over any potential long-term negative consequences. ( click here for the full article )

These boys did commit a crime in October of 2012 (burglary).  It is awful that a frightened Rodney Scott killed Danzele Johnson.   The behavior of Blake, Levi, Anthony and Jose cannot be condoned.  These boys must learn an important lesson.  A well functioning society can’t have people acting with such disregard to others . . . but, none of these boys murdered anyone . . . three of them were juveniles at the time . . . the person who died in this case was a friend.  A friend who they continue to mourn for.

Do the actions of these boys warrant 55 years in prison with the worst of the worst?  In our opinion this case demonstrates a huge overreach of the criminal justice system.  Any possibility of redemption has been abandoned and these boys are being thrown away to spend their lives in a failing and often brutal prison system.

Frequently Asked Questions

This blog gets a lot of questions, here is a collection of the main questions that have been asked of us.

These boys broke the law. Why all the fuss?

Yes these boys broke the law.  They committed a burglary.  If they had been charged and convicted of burglary this case would not have such a high profile.  The concern is the felony murder charge.

But the law is clear, they committed felony murder. Isn’t felony murder when someone dies during the commission of a felony?

The Elkhart 4 were tried in Indiana under that states felony murder law.  The felony murder statute in Indiana states:

A person who kills another human being while committing or attempting to commit arson, burglary, child molesting, consumer product tampering, criminal deviate conduct, kidnapping, rape, robbery, human trafficking, promotion of human trafficking, sexual trafficking of a minor or carjacking . . . commits murder, a felony.

The Indiana law clearly states that felony murder occurs when a ‘person’ kills someone while committing a felonyAs Indiana State Representative Ryan Dvorak states “If you actually read the statue, the language of the statute probably would not apply to the kids in this case (Elkhart 4).”   This is because Blake Layman, Jose Quiroz, Levi Sparks and Anthony Sharp did not kill Danzele Johnson.  The homeowner killed Danzele Johnson, and the homeowner was not committing a felony.

You can read more about the Indiana felony murder law in our articles:

But don’t most states have felony murder laws?

Yes, the majority of states in the USA do have felony murder laws.  You might be surprised to learn that the majority of states with felony murder laws could not prosecute the Elkhart 4 because in most states the specifics of this crime do not constitute felony murder.

You can read more about this in our article,

These are not boys, they are adults. Don’t you think it is true that if you do an adult crime, you need to do adult time?

At the time of the crime Blake was 16, Jose was 16 and Levi was 17.  They were adolescents.  Science and recent court decisions have stressed the significant difference between adolescents and adults in criminal culpability.  In Indiana you can’t vote, join the military or marry without parental consent until you are 18.  In Indiana you can’t drink alcohol until you are 21.  Blake, Jose and Levi were not adults at the time of this crime!  Northwestern Law Professor Steve Drizin covered the issue of juvenile justice in his article on the Elkhart 4 (click here).  We also cover this in the following articles,

Were there any other options or did the prosecution need to charge them with felony murder?

What charges are laid is the responsibility of Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill.  Mr. Hill made the decision to charge these boys with felony murder.  He could have gone with burglary and he could have taken into account the ages of The Elkhart 4 (especially Blake, Levi and Jose).  He chose not to do that.  Prosecutors have the power to decide how to proceed in criminal cases.  Had Mr. Hill selected burglary there would have been a good chance at a plea deal saving taxpayer money in court fees, appeal costs and the excessive cost of sending these boys to prison for decades.

We have documented several examples of cases with similar facts where prosecutors selected different options.  Specifically read our article,

I believe in “Do the crime, do the time.” Don’t you?

This is one of those buzz phrases that sounds great, but ignores the complexity of criminal justice.  If “do the crime, do the time” effectively reduced crime then the USA would be the safest country in the world.  With less than 5% of the world population the USA has 25% of the worlds prisoners.  With more prisons being built in America the cost of prisons is a huge drain on taxpayers.  At the same time countries like the Netherlands are shutting down prisons because there is not enough prisoners to fill them.  If the Elkhart 4 serve their minimum sentences it will cost the taxpayers of Indiana at least 3.1 million dollars.  There are exciting things going on in legal systems around the world.  Programs that find alternatives to decades in prison and effectively reduce rates of re-offending.  Locking these boys up for a crime they did not commit and never dreamed of doing is not productive.

For more information you can read our articles,

I heard the Elkhart 4 had a gun. Is this true?

There was no gun!!!  If the Elkhart 4 had a gun then it would have been central at the trial.  A gun was not mentioned at all during the trial.  Early in the confusion after the incident the press and some members of the police force did mention a gun, but it was quickly determined that a gun was not involved in the crime.  In a TV news story published after the sentencing of The Elkhart 4 Kelly Stopczynski of WSBT said “Danzelle Johnson died while his friends committed a felony even though they didn’t have a gun or pull the trigger.”  Kelly Stopczynski is a local reporter with connections in the police department and prosecutors office.  Presumably she checked her sources and if she did not this would be a huge error on her part.  – Source — http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/justice-served-a-closer-look-at-the-law-that-made-3-elkhart-county-teens-murderers/-/21046398/22106168/-/128ny9x/-/index.html

I heard The Elkhart 4 had knives. Is this true?

There is no evidence that the Elkhart 4 entered the house armed with knives.  According to the appeals court rulings Anthony Sharp did pick up a knife from the counter inside the house.  The other members of the Elkhart 4 were unarmed and the appeals court acknowledged that.

During the investigation a man approaching the police during the investigation and saying he found a knife outside the area the police had cordoned off.  The police were not interested in the knife and refused to take custody of it.  Only after the fact did the police go back to the man and take the knife.  We have concerns that a trained police officer would refuse to take custody of a found knife.  Given the danger knives pose and the risk this of this abandoned knife getting into the hands of children or criminals it is alarming that when a police officer was handed this weapon they did not take custody of the knife to ensure safe storage or disposal.

Why were these boys not at school?

We think this is a really silly question.  It does not matter why there were not at school.  What matters is why they decided to do such a stupid thing.  But for the record we have checked and know that at least two of the boys did not have classes that afternoon due to their schedule and early dismissal.

What is Next for The Elkhart 4?

Currently Blake, Levi, Jose and Anthony are in prison.  You can find you where they are by clicking here.  From what we have been told they have the strong support of their families and a lot of the residents in the community.

We are at the beginning of the appeals process.  Blake Layman, Levi Sparks and Anthony Sharp have all filed appeals.  Jose Quiroz is apparently trying to file an appeal but things are more complex because of his plea deal.

The Elkhart 4 were featured on an episode of the Dr. Phil Show in January 2014.  Smoke and Apple Films is currently completing a documentary on the juvenile justice system in The United States.  This documentary will feature the case of The Elkhart 4.  This start of the documentary was featured at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival in the UK  June 2013.  To watch the movie trailer click here.

Over the next year lawyers for Indiana and The Elkhart 4 will file briefs with the court.  It should prove to be a very interesting appeal.  Whatever the outcome of the appeal this case will shape the Indiana Felony Murder law for years to come.

For more information on the appeals continue checking this blog.  You can start by reading our article,

What can I do to help?

  1. Spread the word – tell your friends about this blog
  2. Sign the petitions set up by the families (click here) asking for a change in the law.
  3. Write the Governor of Indiana, local state representatives or Curtis Hill expressing your concern ( for contact information click here )
  4. Remember that this is one of many examples of juvenile issues being ignored.  Get involved in your local community and ask what happens to youth in the justice system
  5. Be critical citizens.  Read this blog, your newspapers, and websites with a critical eye.  Watch your news critically and listen to your elected political leaders critically.
  6. Let us know your thoughts.  Post a comment on the blog (please remember to read our comment guidelines, we will not post offensive comments, but we will post comments that disagree with our point of view).
  7. Remember there are two sides to every story.  Do your research and listen to all viewpoints.

The-Elkhart-4

62 comments

  • Very well put together site.

  • How can this happen in the USA? What a miscarriage of justice!

  • I agree to what the boys are saying and the parents. They should do the time for what they did. 55 years is a lot of time be hide bars. There’s a lot of people killing people and only getting 10 years or less. The crazy thing is they didn’t even kill the boy and they are getting more time then somebody killing.another person. I think if they doing time they shouldn’t do 10 or less.

  • This is on Dr. PHIL today.

  • These are the facts. They did something stupid. They did commit Felony Murder, UNLESS you consider the fact that the homeowner wasn’t committing a crime when he killed the child.. which technically would make it NOT felony murder…either way who cares, right? The bothersome part is the fact that they got so much time! It truly is excessive, makes you feel raped and filthy because it’s WRONG! I’ve taught my boys about this law since they were ten. You get caught up with the wrong people and your life is over, EVEN IF YOUR JUST A GETAWAY DRIVER, doesn’t matter. Teach your children Ladies because the government doesn’t care about them. Not even a little bit.. just my 2 cents People.

  • If Levi was not a look out no communication did not cave into peer pressure how can he possibly be sentenced to fifty years? How come this was not discussed on the Dr. Phil show?

  • Ok, so lets just send the message that since you are a juvenile, if you DECIDE upon yourself to kill, maim, hold up or attack anyone it will be considered simple “stupidity” and not criminal behavior! Really? Perhaps the sentencing was too harsh, maybe if they had the chance to perhaps kill the homeowner, then everyone could rally in their favor because they are too young and stupid!!!! Give me a break!!!!

  • Elkhart Indiana should be embarrassed by this case. Only a moron would convict these children of murder.

  • Just finished watching The Elkhart 4 on Dr Phil.
    The boys should have been charged with burglary, plain and simple.
    They do not deserve murder charges.
    They did not commit murder while commiting the felony.
    Best of luck to them with their appeals, and I hope they all learn valuable lessons. Prayers to the family of the young man who was killed as well as the man who shot him. A terrible situation all the way around.

  • They should be charge for home invasion, they had no weapons, my sons best friend got stabbed in the heart and murdered in a strip club Des Moines, Ia a few years ago the guy got 5 years that was it. These boys need a new trial, that’s all there is too it!

    • Kathy, This was NOT a home invasion, it was a burglary. There is a big difference. A home invasion is where a person or persons enters an occupied residence with violent intent to rob, assault, rape or kill the occupants. This was a burglary gone horribly wrong.

  • When do we consider the home owner in this???!!! I understand they were young. But they went looking to ROB a someone’s house. All I hear about is the boys are too young but what about the position they put the home owner in. I heard them say the guy fired a shot at me … Well what was he suppose to do. I didn’t hear them be apologetic. I heard a mother blame the home owner for shooting. It was his right to protect himself! FOUR strangers broke into his home. Who is to blame here?!?! The boys! It’s a heck of a mess but they and their mothers have no one to blame but themselves.

  • I agree that this is definitely an unjust punishment for these boys. Yes they should have to serve for the burglary they did but serving 45-55 years is completely harsh. They already have lost a friend due to their mistakes and it’s unfair for them to be charged with his murder. I feel sorry for the boys and their families and hope they get what they actually deserve from the appeal process.

  • A manslaughter charge or second degree murder should have been put on the table
    by the prosecutor Curtis Hill. One who has too much power by the way to convict any
    way he chooses or sees fit in his own opinion. The outlandish sentencing of minors is
    also a grave injustice. Not taking the ages and the original intent of the crime in con-
    sideration is not a way to practice law in a country that states everyone has a right to
    a fair trial. They might want to consider these points in their appeal.

  • I question the guidelines under which the jury had to work from. Through my life experience and having been on a number of jury panels, the ability for a jury panel to decide whether or not someone is guilty or not has been has been taken away from the jury. In its place the jury is given guidelines under which they are to determine guilt or innocence; which leaves a juror feeling like you are cattle and being herded into a decision.

  • I’t an extremely long sentence for what happened, and maybe young adults are less able to perceive the danger or risk in a situation, but they should have known what could have happened whether someone was already home, someone came whilst the were inside or if a neighbor came over. The death of one is sad, but I do agree these kids should have to learn for this mistake. It was a worst case scenario in my mind, but they just need to accept what they did, and maybe with good behavior their sentences will be reduced. This will also serve as a very good warning to other juveniles who have contemplated breaking the law. On to the point of “the law shouldn’t apply to them”: these boys were nearly adults at the time of the incident. While technically still minors they knew what they were doing when they walked into the assumed empty house. And just because another state or districts law would not apply to these boys doesn’t mean anything. It happened in Elkhart country, so the only laws that should apply are Elkhart county’s.

  • Why was Anthony’s mother not on the Dr. Phil show? Do any of these boys have the support of their father’s?

    • We have never met nor do we know personally the families/parents involved in this case. We cannot comment on the personal situation of the boys because we have never asked such questions. Thanks for your interest.

    • On other sites, about this case, I have seen some of the father’s advocate for their sons as well. There is some support there (not sure the extent, as some may support without commenting on a site).

  • Why wasn’t Roney Scott prosecuted for use of excessive force?He had thes kids cornred in a room and they were running from him! You’re not suppose to act as judge and jury just because you can! Does the name Zimmerman ring a bell!!!

    • I can’t and won’t connect this case to George Zimmerman. What I will say is that I have huge sympathy for Mr. Scott. I think the position the boys put him in is awful and I can’t imagine how I would handle the situation given the same set of facts. I hope that Mr. Scott can enjoy privacy, peace and quiet and find a way, however difficult it might be, to put this horrible experience behind him.

    • I agree their sentence is way out of hand and they should be charged with burglary but to say the home owner, who was just defending his home should be charged??? Really… He didn’t go out and try to kill someone, they were in his home

      • We agree 100%. We only have sympathy for the homeowner and we are very critical of the position these boys put him in. We are strong advocates of the boys, but we can’t forget that the homeowner is a real victim here and needs our respect and our support.

  • I totally disagree with these boys being charged with murder, its not like they were big criminals, what a stupid law, its punishment enough to lose their friend plus some time for the burglary. I pray to God they reconsider and give them less time. They were young and dumb but they’re not murderers. I feel so bad for the parents.

  • Christopher Trotter went into Indiana State Prison in 1985 on a 4 year Theft charge – while in prison he participated in a prison riot due to abusive prison environment and Indiana handed him a 142 YEAR SENTENCE!!!! He also did 10 YEARS in solitary-Indiana is a JOKE!!! I’m sure there are many other heavy handed and ridiculous rulings in this State?

  • Levi was no where in the house so why should he be charged for the same felonies of the boys who were actually in the house? These are TEENAGERS. They tried to avoid goin into a home that had someone in it. They did not want to approach anyone while doing the crime. They shouldn’t have got charged for murder, only burglary charges. And the one who passed was 21 right? He made his own decision to go into the house. He was an adult and should have had enough since to not go in there. This trial needs to come to court again and let the boys speak and give their side.

    • Maybe he didn’t go inside because he was the lookout! He could have walked away and not participated too, but he didn’t….

      • Even if acted as looked not a crime that deserves 50 years in prison. Not a crime that deserves 25 years in prison. Not a crime that deserves anywhere near that amount of time. Such a tragedy.

  • We all agree what these (Kids) did was wrong and they should be punished for their crime but they are NOT murderers… and the jurors should not have been forced to make a decision so quickly!!!! blame the judge for that!!! my heart breaks for everyone involved.

  • I think it was a cruel and unjustified punishment. To take away the rest of their life. If they did 5-10 years it would teach them a lesson, not 55 years. WOW!!! That is extreme.

  • Had an “innocent” person been killed, or had the teens had weapons (which would lead one to believe that there was the thought/intention of committing violence), then I could see the teens sharing responsibility for that person’s death. IF that were the case, then I do feel that those involved should be charged with “more” than burglary, as that person’s death would be on their hands. However, that is not the case.

    As a victim of B/E and theft, myself, I absolutely agree that they should be charged with that crime. However, it is wrong to charge non-adults with the consequence of an adult’s decision, just because they also participated in that activity. They did not “force” the “adult” to commit the burglary. Mr. Johnson CHOSE to enter that home, therefore, HE is the one who is responsible for his own actions and the consequences of his actions. In this case, the Elkhart 4 should be charged with Burglary and should serve some time somewhere, but certainly not in prison. (just “probation” for burglary/theft is merely a slap on the wrist for something that is severe. Your home IS your property, sense of security, livelihood. They did violate that and should have a consequence for that action).

    Just a point to ponder, if all of the 4 boys were charged with “murder” because the 5th person in their group was killed while they were ALL breaking the law, by choice and with the intention of doing so, then that 5th person IS guilty of his own death. HIS actions led to HIS death. If all 4 boys are “branded” with a murder charge, then so should EVERYONE in the group be (all who actually committed the B/E, that is). Did they charge HIM for his own murder? I am saying this somewhat sarcastically, but really, it does sound ridiculous when you put it that way, doesn’t it?

  • My heart breaks for these kids and their families. I hope the CCOA throws out, not only the sentences, but the verdict as well. Convict them of burglary and no more.

  • I am curious to see if an ineffective assistance of counsel claim will be filed sense the attorneys did not call any material, character, or expert witnesses to the stand. Basically, they put on no defense. Seems like a great place to start.

    • I don’t know what the legal strategy is going to be. I know that Blake’s family have hired a highly respected appeals lawyer to handle his appeal. Levi is using his trial lawyer to launch his appeal which would make an ineffective council argument difficult. Anthony has launch an appeal I am not sure if his lawyer is the same because I am experiencing difficulty finding his records at the Indiana court record search website. I am not sure what is going with Jose, but know things will be different for him because of the plea deal.

      • Didn’t Jose try to reject the plea deal and the judge wouldn’t let him?

      • Yes, Jose accepted the plea deal then at sentencing he stood up and told the judge that he wanted out and the judge said no. Jose was sentenced to 45 years in prison plus 10 years of probation. During the trial of Blake, Levi and Anthony Jose was called as a witness and he refused to testify creating a lot of issues at the trial.

  • 55 years behind bars for any teenage is the worst possible sentence a judge could make. They made a bad decision but jail time is not the answer. This needs to be fixed and fixed fast!

  • It appears you post a lot of SUpport comments but not others. These criminals will probably serve about ten to fifteen years. Don’t you think thats fair considering their friend will NEVER have a life and they broke in someones house to commit a crime? Sure they were teenagers but they could have chosen something else to do that day. They didn’t. My concern is that in every interview or article i have seen of them, they show sadness of being caught and admit to no responsibility of their actions. Maybe 10 years or so will be the best thing to happen to them to become adults who have good morals. They should be damn thankful they weren’t killed as well instead of whining about the injustice of it all. The pple running this site should be aware that these guys wont serve their full sentence under Indiana law so you should stop trying to sensationalize this case like they have been so badly mistreated and will be in jail for their whole lives. They wont be. We all know it. Spend your time teaching these boys some morals otherwise they will just get out and commit another crime.

    • We will post comments that fall within the guidelines of our comments section. We are a bit slow right now posting comments given the volume we are getting. We like to comment on some of the negative posts so it takes a while. We will not post comments that promote the death penalty for juveniles or comments which don’t add to the debate and are rude. There are also a few people who have violated our rules a number of times and we will no longer post any of their comments. I disagree completely that they have not taken responsibility. Very clearly they have taken responsibility for burglary. There parents have said they need consequences. The issue here is an issue of felony murder. They will not admit to killing their friend. They continue to mourn his passing. I agree that they should not take responsibility for felony murder. I don’t think it is a reflection of what happened here. I think this case is going to be a very important case at the appeals court and as we move forward things should be interesting.

  • I think that the boys did a dumb thing by braking into the house but they are teenagers they only think in the minute not. Teenagers will be teenagers. They made a mistake. The should not be charged for felony murder

    • It is just over kill and Curtis hill is just.trying to make a name for himself. I hope he feels like a big person sending 4 boys to prison for something they didn’t do. Yes the broke into a house yes they should be punished for that and not for murder. I think that this is a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. Maybe somebody higher up than Curtis hill should maybe be checking out his actions. This boys won’t even have a chance to make up for the crime they did comment braking into a house that they took time to try to make sure that no one was home. This case needs retried by a jury and judge and prosecutor that is unbiased. So I am praying that this case is appealed .

  • It sounds to me that the judge was too lazy and just wanted to handle the murder and pin it on the boys so it doesn’t make another case. This is exactly why im majoring in criminal justice. Innocent lives are stolen from our community, and sentencing is all wrong. A burgarly charge is max of 12 yrs. And people murder intently and get 8-12?? AMERICA NEEDS TO CHANGE!

  • How did Denzele’s parents feel about the verdict? Was this the outcome they wanted for the rest of the boys?

    What about the homeowner? How did he feel about the boys being convicted with murder?

    • Hi Jeff, these are questions we have asked ourselves, but we don’t know. Both have kept rather quiet. I know that the homeowner testified in court and I can’t even begin to imagine what he has been through and I have the greatest sympathy for his. The position these boys put him in is not acceptable. If we find out we will post, but we believe that both the homeowner and Danzele’s families privacy needs to be respected.

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  • Why was the trial rushed? Why did the Judge rush the jury to render a decision? Why wasn’t the request to withdraw the plea granted? What? I heard that the homeowner corralled at least one of them into a closet, then shot through the door. He had to know they were unarmed and had the situation under control to the point where they were no longer a threat? Was he really that justified and don’t get me wrong, I say go ahead and stand your ground. Did anyone really have to die? What did the homeowner say in court?

  • I see so many instances in the media where children commit these crimes and there is never an interview with a FATHER. Where are the fathers to these boys? I trust our justice system, uphold and have faith in the law, and do not hold the homeowner at all responsible for exercising his American citizen’s rights to bear arms and protect his own property. Although it is sad that these boys will be spending the greater part of their lives in prison, it was their own decision to invade that home on that dreadful day. Possibly a basketball game or voluntaring in a soup kitchen would have cured their boredom?
    May God bless you all!

  • Hi I would like to say I’m a law enforcement officer in Georgia, I heard this on dr Phil and I was amazed. Did these boys commit a crimes? Yes they did an they should be punished for that crime. My question is if u hear a noise and your first instinct is to grab a gun that is the intent to kill no where have I heard that the homeowner tried to escape or call 911 he took justice into his own hands why was he not charged with murder. Law states that self defense is using the lest amount of force to remove yourself from the situation. The boys were not armed which means when the homeowner grabbed the gun he gained control which eliminates self defense and constitutes malice murder he never tried to escape. My prayers are with all the families. I hope true justice preveals