2014 Shows

In October 2012, 21-year-old Danzele Johnson was shot and killed by an Elkhart, Indiana homeowner while he and three friends broke into a home and another served as a lookout. Although they didn’t pull the trigger, Danzele’s friends, 16-year-olds Blake Layman and Jose Quiroz, 17-year-old Levi Sparks and 18-year-old Anthony Sharp -- now known as the “Elkhart 4” -- were charged with his murder and sentenced to 45 to 55 years in prison. Dr. Phil delves into Indiana’s felony murder law, which provides that if a killing occurs during the commission of a felony, the persons responsible for the felony can be charged with murder. The boys’ mothers are outraged and say their sons should not have to pay the price for a crime they did not commit -- and many in the community agree. Speaking out for the first time, Blake, Levi and Anthony talk to Dr. Phil via satellite from behind bars. Hear firsthand what they say happened on that fateful day. And, hear from a juror on the case -- does he feel the verdict was fair? Plus, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin weighs in. Should the felony murder law apply to adolescents? Tune in and decide for yourself: Should these teens have been charged with a lesser offense?

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: tvphan on Dec 22, 2015, 7:49AM
In September, the Indiana Supreme Court threw out the murder convictions for three of the 'Elkhart Four'.

There was a similar (but fictional) situation in an episode of the TV drama, “Judging Amy”: Judge Amy Gray refused to convict the young defendant.

I don’t like it when minors are sentenced as if they were adults.  Their degree of maturity and understanding must be taken into account.  Just as people who are intellectually challenged must be treated differently.

I also think it should make a big difference if the person who is killed is one of the perpetrators rather than one of the intended victims.  If one of their friends is killed, then the surviving perpetrators will already be experiencing punishment.

It’s interesting to compare this case with that of Oscar Pistorius, the disabled Olympic athlete.  Like the homeowner in this case, he killed someone, but the homeowner in this case was cleared, whereas Oscar has now been convicted of murder.
Replied By: buddhistbeer on May 8, 2015, 11:16AM
This kind of sentence is very common in the major cities Dr Phil has to know that, especially with black defendants. Just watch any episode of 'the first 48' and you will see this happen once a week.

If Dr Phil did his job he would have talked more about how the prison industry not victims support groups is the one who lobbies for longer and longer sentences for first time offences.

When it happens to white people in the suburbs then it matters?

'yes i'm white'

Thank you
Replied By: mastab13 on Apr 2, 2015, 2:53AM
55 years... really?
Replied By: mastab13 on Apr 2, 2015, 2:51AM
Convicting those boys of Felony Murder was sooo wrong in my opinion.  Yes they made a mistake... but they didn't enter that house with any type of weapons - so it wasn't their intent to hurt anyone.  The one who was killed is the responsible for his own death.  Should the boys go to prison? Yes for WHAT they did... which was B & E... not murder.... 55 years is just boarderline retarded.
Replied By: dalgal27 on Mar 6, 2015, 12:14PM
Boys should be sentenced for burglery, not murder.
Replied By: dalgal27 on Mar 6, 2015, 12:04PM
I remember watching this Dr. Phil episode and last night MTV's show One Bad Choice covered it again. I believe that these young men should have been punished as burglers, not murderers. It is sad that Mr. Johnson was killed, he paid the ultimate price for his one bad choice. I see both sides of this story. I, like the home owner in this story have health issues and stay home in bed alot. And if a teenager that I didn't know knocked on my door during the day I probably would not answer the door. This might lead the teen to believe he could come on in and rob the place, that nobody is home. And I do own a gun, and I would definately reach for it if I heard some one in my house. I might shoot..... But I would not hold the other teens or myself responsible for murder. A few years back in the middle of the night my husband woke me up telling me someone was trying to break into our car in the driveway. I looked on our security camera and saw it was a teen about my own son's age. My husband went for our gun and wanted to go outside and shoot him. We live in Texas and it would have been perfectly legal for him to do so. I immediately thought of my own son and would I want someone to SHOOT him for making a dumb mistake. NOOOO!!!! About that time the teen decided he could not enter our car and walked away. The police came and took him away. These teens do deserve to be punished. Twenty years maybe and paroled after ten. At most. They don't deserve to have their lives totally taken from them.

Replied By: obitwo on Jan 29, 2015, 2:56PM - In reply to megookin
If you have children (not likely)... let´s hope they never do any "crime"... and then a friend get shot and they sentenced to jail...

WHAT was the other kids crime more than burglery?

Who shot who?

Who did the kids, now in jail, SHOOT by your opinion?

Replied By: obitwo on Jan 29, 2015, 1:28PM
I´m so happy that I and my kids don´t live in US...

Just makes me SAD that the person who actually fired the gun gets young persons sent to jail for lifetime... WHERE is the LOGICAL thinking???????????

Would it be OK for you if 5 young kids gets in to my garden and tries to steel my bicykle and I shoot one of them.... just because I like to shoot persons.... and the other 4 gets lifetime in jail?


Just so SAD to see the program... You have things to overcome....
Replied By: obitwo on Jan 29, 2015, 1:13PM
that me and my family live in Europe.

In Sweden there is a law that says that IF theese young burglers would have killed the owner of the house they could all be judged for murder.....

ABSOLUTELY NOT if the OWNER shot one of THEM and the rest is judged for MURDER.... Ha ha haaa It´s such BIG JOKE!

A very tragic "joke" regarding the young boys and therefore I´m glad I don´t live in US.

Let´s say that your son and some friends wants to steal my bicykle in my garden and I shoot one of them... The other two will get lifetime jail for MURDER? 

The persons that think this is OK are really sick...


Replied By: velmagwink on Jan 17, 2015, 11:32PM - In reply to elkhartdad
if that happened.... I would hope to try and find the copasity for empathy on both sides of the isle.... and not just the one that benifits the vengful side of me that we all have.
Showing 1-10 of total 779 Comments