The Case of the Elkhart 4 Captures the Attention of an International Audience

From Norway, to Belgium, from Canada, to the UK, to The Netherlands and beyond the story of the Elkhart 4 continues to make news internationally.


Here is a headline from a Belgian news site on Thursday February 26, 2015.

Hoe krijgt een ‘onschuldige’ tiener 55 jaar celstraf voor moord?


Translated the article title is “How does an “innocent” teen get 55 years in prison for murder?”


A Dutch news site also carried an article entitled,

“Tiener krijgt 55 jaar cel voor niet gepleegde moord”

which means “Teen gets 55 years for no murder”.

As well there is a Dutch Blog that has spent a lot of time posting articles about The Elkhart 4 — One was entitled “55 jaar voor een moord die je niet gepleegd hebt!” The author was so concerned that they published the original in Dutch and then translated their writing into English, the title being “55 Years for a Murder They did not Commit”.


On Thursday February 26, 2015 the Guardian, one of the larges newspapers in the UK published an article on the case which caused a storm on Twitter.   Many Tweets responding to the Guardian article questioned what has happened to the Elkhart 4.


As well as the Guardian, ITV one of the largest UK TV channels featured Blake Layman in one of their recent documentaries.


Australian news websites are also covering the story (click here)


As we have already reported the case of The Elkhart 4 was featured in a Norwegian High School Class.


As we previously reported the Elkhart 4 has been featured in The National Post, one of the largest Canadian Newspapers.


The Dr. Phil Show featuring the Elkhart 4 has been seen in many countries around the world including Canada, The UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.  Viewers continue to react to the show including,


The controversial case of The Elkhart 4 continues to capture the attention of an international audience.


  • Waiting for the Supreme Court decision but finding peace and hope in our perfect ‘Judge!’ He loves these boys with all that is in Him and He will not forsake them. Someday, we will see His ultimate and perfect plan for them and their loved ones!

  • People in other countries also tend to think that the homeowner should be charged with murder. So why should their opinions be considered?

    • Closed societies ignore other opinions . . .an open society learns from others, take what works and dismiss what does not. This blog has always stated that the homeowner was the victim and the Elkhart 4 have a lot to account for in what they put him through. We agree with you that there is no room for the homeowner to be charged. We have however, suggested that Elkhart, Indiana and the rest of the US have a lot to learn from other countries. Why did Indianapolis with a population of a little under 1 million have 135 murders in 2014 while Toronto with a population of about 2.6 million have 57? Perhaps we can learn from Canada. Why do the Netherlands and Sweden have decreasing crime rates that are so significant that they are closing prisons while states in the US continue to need to build more prisons? Perhaps we can learn from Sweden and the Netherlands. Why do released prisoners in the USA reoffend at such a high rate while in Norway the rate of released offenders reoffending is relatively small? Perhaps we can learn from Norway. Why does the USA have 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated population? Even with such high rates of incarceration why are crime rates in the USA higher than in other countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe? We risk so much ignoring the opinions of others . . because it means we ignore what works elsewhere.

  • Incidentally, while we’re looking at how Canada, Sweden, or Holland would deal with the “Elkhart 4″… why not look at how Singapore would deal with them? Singapore’s violent crime rate is one of the lowest in the world.

    My point is that if a country would criminalize what the homeowner did in this case, they’re philosophically warped and do not merit attention.

    • Thanks for the suggestion . . . I will look into the law in Singapore . . I suspect you will be correct that the punishment there would be much harsher than most other places.

      I agree with you that criminalizing the actions of the homeowner is not appropriate. I would go further and say that the homeowner who is the true victim in this case needs support and the Elkhart 4 should be provide restitution to him if possible.

      I think it is crazy though to dismiss an entire legal system because one section of law does not agree with your personal or societal viewpoint. Just because you don’t like that a country would charge the homeowner in this case does not mean you ignore successes that country has in other areas. For example if a country is really successful at reducing felons re-offending we should look into that.

      You have asked me to look into the laws in Singapore. I do know that Singapore has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. You can have a permit to own a gun for sport shooting, but the gun must be locked up at the shooting club. You can apply for a permit for protection. In your application you must prove you are in imminent danger . . .these applications are almost always rejected. The punishment for owning an unregistered gun (it is almost impossible to register a gun) is 5 – 10 years. Owning 2 guns is considered trafficking in weapons and can be punished by death. Strangely enough, it is also illegal to chew gum in Singapore. Many Americans would find laws like this “philosophically warped”. Using your logic we should ignore all other aspects of the legal system because of this. Seems crazy to me.

      • Their gun laws aren’t at issue when comparing penal structures.

        Yes, such gun laws are incredibly contrary to the human right of self defense, but that doesn’t change the fact that Singapore has some of the lowest crime rates in the world while implementing a brutal system of criminal punishment.

        The “Elkhart four” would be executed in Singapore, for the record. I don’t think that’s necessarily the right approach, but the Elkhart community is definitely safer with these criminals off the streets.

      • All good debates hang on the basic facts being correct. Unfortunately the facts don’t support your argument here. I agree with you that Singapore has a harsh criminal justice system [and sometimes very repugnant (see last paragraph)] , but not as harsh as you believe. Singapore is a signatory of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. As such Singapore bans elections for crimes committed by someone under the age of 18. 3 of the Elkhart 4 were under 18 . . .had they been in Singapore no death penalty for them.

        In 2012 Singapore revamped their murder laws making the death penalty only mandatory for intentional murder. The equivalent of felony murder [murder statute 300 (d)] has the death penalty as an option . . given the facts of this case it is unlikley that even in Singapore the one person over 18 would get the death penalty . . if felony murder was even charged. The felony murder rule can only be charged if the “accused must know that his conduct is so dangerous that it must in all probability cause bodily injury which is likely to cause death”. Not sure that breaking into an house they believed was unoccupied meets the standard of actions that “must in all probability cause bodily injury which is likely to cause death.”

        Finally your quick dismissal of Singapore gun laws comes back to haunt you. You see in Singapore owning a gun is a felony unless you have a permit and they don’t give out permits so there are hardly any guns. If this case happened in Singapore you have 2 felonies committed . . .1. burglary . . .2. owning a prohibited item . . both punishable. Given the standard for felony murder under Singapore law it could even be argued that firing an illegal gun “must in all probability cause bodily injury which is likely to cause death”. Remember in Singapore because guns are so rare the notion that the homeowner would be armed would not be as evident as one might think.

        Finally on Singapore they have some strange laws that demonstrate that they are not as harsh as their reputation suggests. In fact in some gross cases they are way too lenient given the facts of the case. Take the case of Firdaus bin Abdullah whose “cruelty eventually resulted in the death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son. Firdaus had punched the child in the face repeatedly before picking him up and slamming his head against the doorframe. He had also punched the child’s head so hard that his own knuckle became swollen. After that, he went on to pull down the child’s diapers before violently grabbing his genitals and biting them. The child later died in the hospital from severe head injuries and an autopsy revealed 31 different injuries.” If any crime should be punished harshly this is it . . what did Mr. Abdullah get? 12 years in jail and 12 hits by a cane . . he will be a free man in 2020 — Why? Apparently murdering kids is not bad in Singapore as killing an older person. I hope you and I can agree that this is one of the most repugnant aspects of any legal code.;page=0;query=Id%3A%22cd44d4fd-5a57-41c3-aaec-04f748ce5910%22%20Status%3Ainforce;rec=0