Blake Layman’s Family Petition to Governor Mike Pence to stop the Felony Murder Rule — Click Here

Jose Quiroz’s Family Petition to Governor Mike Pence to stop the Felony Murder Rule — Click Here



  • Pingback: Who are The Elkhart 4 and FAQ –

    • I am so sorry for everyone here…. Stupid boys upset a man in his home… stupid boys; one got killed and four others have to live with the loss of their friend… stupid boys tore their families to pieces… stupid boys of which i could’ve just as easily done the same stupid thing when i was their age… this is bull and someone needs them to pay, but only for burglary… i will grant you they’re stupid boys but they’re whole lives, someone please tell me what I can do to help them to pay but for only the consequences that fits the crime…..

      • Levi Sparks didn’t do ANYTHING. So you’re talking about THREE stupid boys.

      • Levi sparks should not have got the same punishment! He didn’t go into the house, he didn’t want any part of it? So tell me again, why he got 45 years with 10 years of probation? Tell me how it’s fair to do that to somebody that wasn’t even SEEN in the man’s house? How are you going to punish him that harshly when the home owner SAID ON THE STANCE , HE DID NOT SEE LEVI!!! THIS Is INJUSTICE . And not right! & finally none of these ” stupid boys ” should have got a lower sentence, why would you give them a charge for felony murder, when they had no intentions of harming anybody, and nobody even had weapons . Give somebody a felony murder charge if they murdered somebody , not if they tried burglarizing somebody, and one of their people were murdered .

      • I am shocked with this case im from ireland after been watching it on Dr. Phil and how cruel a case we give out in this country that justice is never served (7-10 years) for murder but my god would i rather be over here than deal with the justice system in america (land of the free???) Please god these boys get the verdict they so rightly deserve poor kids are already dealing with the loss of a friend an then to be told its their fault? Sickening!! I will sign as many petitions i find goodluck to them an their supporters

  • I feel that 55 years is too much for teenagers committed burglary. It is unfortunate that someone died as a result of the crime that being committed but, sentencing minors to 55 years for burglary is extreme. And I say burglary because that was the only crime committed.

    • I agree & for Levi to be charged when he didn’t even go in the house is insane. These kids needed to learn a lesson not die in jail. SOmeone needs to do something!


    • Can’t answer that question . . .it is a question we ask ourselves. Best person to ask the question is Elkhart Country Prosecutor Curtis Hill. On our page we link to his contact info. If you get an answer please send it our way.

      • poor levi was involved in the burglary because the 4 of them planned it together , hes classed as a lookout.he would of had a cut of the money if theyd got out of there with the goods.but to be charged with murder is rediculous.hope this pettition will get these boys home sooner.

    • The Levi kid especially shouldn’t have been charged at all

    • Yes, I agree. This makes no sense at all. I hope someone steps in a helps the young men.

  • I have gladly signed these petitions and shared them with everyone I could on my social media outlets. I am outraged after watching and learning about this on the Dr. Phil show today. I hope that this has given this case and unjust ruling the publicity that it needs to urge Indiana courts and politicians to adjust this ruling and sentence for these BOYS who did NOT pull the trigger nor hurt anyone. My heart goes out to them and their families. I hope this nightmare is over sooner then later for all those affected.

  • The time they got was some bull. The charge is bull. I will gladly do anything i can to help

  • This is ridiculous! These “boys” and they are just boys, were not armed and had no intent to cause physical harm! They should be held accountable for the burglery, but this prosecution just threw these boys lives away! Prison is supposed to be the Dept of “corrections”, what does 50 years teach them to make them better citizens??!! They will be old men if they survive. As a mother of a son that has probably done some things he shouldn’t have, my heart breaks for these boys and their families! This is not justice, this is a prosecution making an example of these boys and by doing so have caused more harm. Praying for a reversal of these sentences!

    • your so right ,we need too pray for these boys .god can overturn this ,I will pray with you for the familys and the boys,and for the mother who lost her boy for comforted thats hes with the lord. pam

  • I just watched this story on Dr. Phil and it sickens me to know that these young men sat down and took the time to plot out burglary, however it sickens me even more to know that a Judge, the Prosecutor and the jurors could find it in their hearts that 45 to 50 years is a just sentence for them. How can they lay down at night and sleep. This is absolutely terrible and I think that this need to be looked into by someone higher up. It’s sad that someone died but these young men did not kill anyone.
    My prayers go out to everyone. God can turn any situation around.
    God bless!!!!

    • Thanks for the comment. You are correct that these boys need to be held to account for their actions, but I agree that the justice system in Elkhart needs to be held to account for their willingness to ignore the age of these boys. There have been significant legal changes of the past few years because of the scientific research that shows how different developing teenage brains are from adult brains. Unfortunately Curtis Hill and the judge chose to ignore all that evidence. On our site we document a case out of Florida with similar circumstances but the prosecutor managed to find a middle ground. You can read about it here.

  • This is bull****! That is all the needs to be said! Just sickening!

  • They did not commit murder they should not have gotten 55 years

  • this is ridiculous!! what is going on with the justice system? These boys do not deserve such a harsh punishment!! I feel outraged

  • This is unbelievable they did not commit felony murder. Repeated rapists get less than these kids. They did not even commit armed robbery. Fifty five years will never stick I hope they get them out on appeal in a few years. .

  • This just made me sick,they should have been charged with the crime THEY committed,not Murder,I feel so bad for these mothers,my heart just hurts watching Dr. Phil and the heartbreak the moms are going through,praying for these boys and that they get a second chance!

  • My brother was murdered 3 years ago. His murderer was released last month. There is a severely flawed system in this country. These BOYS deserved a better defense. Just because the law states certain criteria doesn’t mean it can’t be changed on appeals. We will not have a chance of appeal because the prosecution was inadequate. The whole system is unequal and unjust. Americans should be outraged and demand fairness.

    • Rebecca Seese-Norkett

      I am SO sorry about your brother. I noticed no one stated that to you. I agree with you, the justice system is SERIOUSLY flawed!!!!!!

  • The sentence was extremely unjust and if Levi was across the street why was he charged at all… That is just crazy!!! The set out to Rob not to murder, they had no weapon. I also believe they had no prior knowledge of the felony murder law either and we’re not even aware that this could happen to them as a murder charge. It’s crazy!

  • I just heard about this story on Dr.Phil. How can this judge sleep at night? Justice was NOT served. Shame on the judge for taking these boys lives. The judge has more blood on his hands than these boys.

  • Rebecca Seese-Norkett

    SERIOUSLY flawed justice system!!!!! I can NOT comprehend how the prosecutor, the judge, the jury could convict these teenagers of MURDER!!!!!! Especially hearing the testimony of the home owner…. these were UNARMED teenagers! They were looking for a unoccupied home to commit burglary! I am NOT by any means condoning ANY crime! But if a crime is committed…charge them with the crime that was committed!!! I still would LOVE to know how and why Levi has received and been charged with murder and received 55 years also?? He was not in the home! I am 37… any help that is needed to get JUSTICE for these boys….PLEASE let me know!!!!

    • Thanks for your support. Because Levi did no go into the house he was given 50 years rather than the 55 years that Blake and Anthony got. I say this knowing full well that the difference between 50 and 55 years is not much and they are both crazy harsh sentences.

  • Is there anything we can all do aside from these petitions? Is there an active appeal process going on? Are their lawyers sufficient and capable enough??? I’ve shared this with the 500 something odd followers I have on my blog I have regarding the James Holmes case and many of them have voiced their frustration for this as well. If there is anything else anyone can do to help this please tell us

    • The appeals for Blake, Levi and Anthony have begun, but are in their very early stages. There are the petitions and there are also links on this site to the relevant political authorities who have some power in this case and the law. This is going to be a long fight now through the courts and the political arena. To be truthful there are many, especially the political elite of Elkhart Country who want these boys and this case to disappear from the public eye. Keeping the pressure on and keeping public attention on this injustice is what needs to happen. Some of the families have started Facebook Pages you can find the link to one in the above menu. You can try contacting the families through Facebook and see if what support they need.

  • I just saw this on Dr.Phil. It made me sick to my stomach. How can this sentence be just or fair? This is absoulutely sickening that this sentence was made by this prosecutor. I believe the boys should pay for the crime of burglary, but not murder. How Outrageous. I hope the prosecutor in this town does not get re-elected. I am so sorry to the mothers and the boys. Prayers to you tonight from Kentucky.

  • Justice has failed once again. Stay strong boys, and families. This will come to an end, far too many people are fighting back against the disappointments of this country, and young lives will not be held accountable for those disappointments. Although only in spirit, your friend is fighting for you too. He was willing to go into that house so don’t take it upon yourselves to feel guilty. Reduce the sentence for these boys! Allow them to have a shot at rehabilitation and redemption!

  • I am a born and raised Canadian Citizen. I was glued to my television seeing the story of these 4 YOUNG MEN!!!! I am just disgusted with a law that allows the charge and conviction of “felony murder” for what I understand in my country would be a charge of “break and enter” and possibly “involuntary manslaughter”!! Should these boys be incarcerated for their crimes? Absolutely, however there are so many factors that our justice system would take into account. For instance, prior criminal misdemeanor or felony charges and/or convictions. Did these boys have any type of weapons when committing this crime? Again, in this case my definition of this crime is break and enter and possibly involuntary manslaughter. I will continue to watch this case closely and I will pray for all involved. To the moms, I have 3 kids, the 2 youngest are 22 and 20 year old boys and cannot imagine the utter devastation and chaos you are living with! Be strong ladies and I will gladly pass your story and petition throughout Canada and to all other countries I have contacts in!! PRAYING FOR PEACE AND FOR YOUR BOYS TO BE HOME ASAP!!!

  • These boys are only guilty of burglary of a occupied dwelling. Not murder.

  • Kathleen Polsterer-Lima

    This has got to be the dumpest thing I have ever heard. Who came up with this law? The homeowner should be charged. These kids should not be in prison. What a joke.

    • I agree the law is questionable, but I disagree about the homeowner. I have great sympathy and respect for him. I do not know how I would have reacted if I had been in his situation. The fear and confusion he must of felt at that moment and now he needs to live with that moment for the rest of his life. He did not choose to be put in that situation . . . he did not expect to be put in that situation. I am a very strong supporters of these boys. But I have repeatedly said that that they put this man into this nightmare by their actions, actions that cannot be tolerated in our society. I will continue my advocacy work but I have nothing by the greatest respect for the homeowner and I hope daily that he is able to put this horrid situation behind him and live a happy life.

  • I am an ex-police officer and believe on being tough on crime however these young men were convicted of the wrong crime. They should have been found guilty of burglary but not of murder. Jurors need to use common sense.

  • This was not a typical case for felony murder, as it was a co-offender not an innocent bystander who lost his life, and not by the hand of the other offenders. Something else to consider is that the frontal cortex is not fully developed in the brains of adolescents, which means they were less likely to show good judgment or fully consider the possible consequences of their actions, i.e. they didn’t interpret the signs that the man was home the way an adult would have, and they also didn’t consider the fact that if the man was home, they could potentially die by his hand as he defended his home – which he had the full right to do. Teenagers DO NOT think like adults, and these boys should not have been charged as adults, nor charged with the felony murder at all. They should have been charged with burglary, and perhaps criminally negligent manslaughter. I guarantee that these boys are not a danger to society, and if they get out of prison, it is unlikely that they will commit another crime. It is unjust to make them spend the rest of their lives behind bars. These boys will have to live with the fact that their bad decision to burglarize a home cost their friend his life, and I guarantee they’ll think about it every day, whether they’re incarcerated or not. Is that not punishment enough?

  • I want badly to sign both & any petitions. I tried & keep getting this message; · There was an error submitting your form. Please try again later.


  • So if me and my best friend go mountain climbing on private property and my best friend falls to their death will I be charged as cruelly as these young men? Why is it they choose to excercise justice when its a controversial issue but real criminal acts, rapists and pedophiles get much less punishment! These are kids whose brains still aren’t through growing! The crime doesn’t fit the punishment and these are children. Does common sense really not exist anymore!?

    • In the scenario you describe the felony murder would not apply. Simple trespass is not a felony so the felony murder charge can’t be applied. The felony murder law goes back to England it was designed as a way to address group crimes. The most common use is three guys go into a bank to rob it and one guy waits in the car outside the bank. One of the robbers shoots his gun killing the bank teller. The police can charge all of the men, including the car driver with felony murder. The problem as I see it with the law is the fact that the prosecution does not need to prove intent to kill in order to gain a first degree murder conviction. In recent years there have been some huge miscarriages of justice in the USA because of the use of felony murder. Two other famous cases are, 16 Year old Brandon Hein in California who went with some friends to steal some weed off of another kid. A fight broke out and the other kid was killed. Brandon Hein did not know that one of his accused had a knife but was still found guilty of the felony murder. He was sentenced to life without parole as were several of the other boys (one boys got a sentence with parole possibilities). This case has received significant media attention. Recently the governor gave Brandon a reprieve and he will get a parole hearing probably in 2020. Perhaps the most infamous case in the USA is Ryan Holle who at the age of 21 had gone out for a night of drinking and partying. He got home early in the morning very drunk and went to bed. A few hours later his roommate woke him up asked for the keys to the car and said he was going to steal some weed. Ryan still drunk and barely awake gave the keys to the roommate. The roommate and some other guys went to a house to steal weed. They ended up killing the daughter of the drug dealer. Ryan was charged with felony murder and is now serving life without parole. There are some cases where felony murder seems very logical, the problem with the law is that it is really broad and so it can be used in cases where it makes little or no logic. This is one of our concerns with the Elkhart 4 case.

  • Unfortunately whether or not you know a crime was going to be committed if you were with the individual that committed the crime you will be sentenced in the same fashion as if you committed the crime yourself. It is written in the law. The first thing that needs to happen is to help these boys get back home where they belong, get them the help they need and then change the laws so that other families do not have to live the same nightmare.

  • Those boys did not go into that house to hurt anyone and did not carry weapons, so this is not premeditated murder. They did not try to hurt the owner and why was he not charged with reckless murder! They were trying to hide or run away when they got shot at. These are just boys, not harden criminals (with long rap sheets). Here in Oregon this would not have happened!

  • I’m glad I do not live in USA! Yes the boys did wrong, but to sentence them to over 45 years is wrong! USA goes on about human rights abuse in over countries, yet it never looks within!

  • This is horrific. I live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and heard about this story on the Dr. Phil show. Europe is disgusted by the United States and their laws. This is certainly not a fair sentence! How could it be? These boys went in without knowing about this law, without knowing somebody would die or would be home for that matter. I cannot believe that their lives are taken away completely for a crime they did not commit. I do not understand. The United States is not the greatest country any longer! Hasn’t been for a long time if this is their justice system! This just scares me. I signed the petitions and will certainly write more letters and share this on social media. My thoughts and prayers are with these boys and their families! Stay strong! I hope something will change soon!

  • I believe this is completely unjust. These teens should not have to spend their entire lives in prison due to a burglary. I believe it is a tragedy that a young boy died but he made the decision to enter that home the others did not force him. I think this entire verdict and sentencing Is a tragedy of it’s own, they were not armed and it was not their weapon that killed this young boy.

  • It is not fair that they commited burglary and sentenced for murder, they do deserve time, but a far lesser sentence!!!

  • Just watched dr.phil. This is absolutely not fair. Im sitting in Norway and feeling awful for theese boys! Yes, they commited a crime, but NOT murder. This sentenence is crazy and unbelieveable. 50 years? Really? Its crazy…. I am angry, sad and its absolutely not fair!!! Feeling for these boys and thinking of their family. Because this is just wrong.

  • just read about the case in the guardian. the law is wrong in this case. they committed a crime, burglary. I think they should be freed. one man dead and four others locked up for 50 years, where is the justice in that. good look with the appeal.

  • I am an Australian and have just read about this case in the Guardian newspaper. The American justice system is seriously flawed by imposing a 55 year sentence for a crime that was not committed. Supporters of these boys need need to get the full weight of the public behind this case; both nationally and internationally.

  • Got my whole family to sign the petitions. 💜 goes out to the boys and the families

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