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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: nilayhaylaz on Oct 6, 2014, 9:15PM
Those young boys punished in the worst way possible for 1 stupid decision. No chance to learn from their mistake. Yes, they should not have broken into a house. But they're boys. 50+ years is insane. Its practically a death sentence. I feel for these boys and their families. I wish them all the best from Australia.
Replied By: rotterdam on Aug 12, 2014, 3:34AM - In reply to goldenbeach
Saw this episode on Dutch television today and I am shocked. When this should happen in Holland, the boys should have been punished for what they did and the owner of the house punished for having a gun and using it in these circumstances. It doesn't sound  to me that he couldn't do anything else but shoot. That is why it is a excellent thing not allowing people to have fireguns in their homes. Too many accidents like these in the US! There was a very, very tiny risk that the owner should have been killed. He could have locked  himself up in the closet with his cell phone and call 911.

These boys were no experienced bad guys for sure. I wish the US will evaluate this again and give these kids a second chance.
Replied By: rammstein1 on Aug 11, 2014, 10:33AM
the man stood his ground and defended himself. The other three did just commit a burglary and should have only been convicted for that. Now if they had killed the homeowner they would have been guilty of murder but this is just nonsense. Utter and total nonsense. The jury should never have given this verdict and the prosecutor should have never sought this conviction.

This is why so many non-violent offenders sit in jail for almost life and it is ridiculous.
Replied By: goldenbeach on Mar 26, 2014, 8:39PM
If this had happened in Australia, the home owner would have been charged with the death, and the young men charged with burglary.   I hope we don't follow USA with these horrific laws.

Replied By: applebags on Mar 25, 2014, 5:29AM
ridiculous that's all I can say.  I can't believe that punishment in this instance the crime does not fit the punishment.  They were just stupid boys looking for a thrill what they walked into will change there lives they lost a friend and truthfully don't own a gun people the kill.

Replied By: debtunbridge on Mar 25, 2014, 5:14AM
Whoa! Just saw this show.  Not once was it commented on that a person can kill someone with a gun that did not show intent to harm.  Americans are so brainwashed into thinking that owning guns is normal that they don't realise that killing is so much more accessible for everyone.  Quite frankly the home owner should be up for murder.  He would be in Australia, as I do not see that he killed out of defence of his own life.  Wouldnt want to live in America where guns are considered as normal as having a cat or dog.
Replied By: lauren254 on Mar 25, 2014, 1:27AM - In reply to jesshenz
I think your response has been the most sensible so far! I don't live in America and watching the episode has been a bit scary. I believe that the boys had no intent of harming anyone and from my understanding one of the 'crtieria' of this law is the actual intent. Although I do not on any level think that the boys breaking into that house was alright, I also do not think though that charging anyone with a crime they have not done is accpetable either. The world is becoming scarier.
Replied By: lisasport on Feb 19, 2014, 1:31PM
Up to what age can a teen be tried as a juvenile? Why weren't they tried as juveniles? Was it because a death occured? I'm just curious to know why the sentence was so harsh for these boys. I believe they should be held accountable for their crime but to spend almost their whole lives in prison is really sad and, well too much. I know a young man was robbed of his life, but is it fair to rob these boys of theirs, too?
Replied By: smartship18 on Feb 11, 2014, 9:20AM
The verdict was just according to the state's law (not saying the law makes sense though). It is unfortunate that the boy died but a relief the homeowner (who is the only victim here) was physically unharmed (I'm sure he will have nightmares for a very long time though). However, I do believe the sentence was too harsh. None of the boys were armed; they did not shoot anyone themselves and they were very young. The boy who died was every bit as responsible as the other 4, so I don't understand why his death led to a murder charge. Maybe they should bury his corpse in the prison grounds? The boys should be given a sentence length equal to burglary, taking to account their age at the time and the fact they were unarmed, but they should have the felony murder remaining on their records.
Replied By: cjmallow on Feb 2, 2014, 10:03PM
I am appalled that Dr. Phil defended these boys, and instead allowed the mothers to blame the homeowner, the law and even the jury...I raised two boys,  who are now in their 30's with families of their own.  One is a firefighter/EMT and the other is a doctor of pharmacy...I understand having mercy on them to an extent, but if either of my boys would have broken into someone's home, their dad and I would not have expected them to walk away from it without consequences....As Sunny Hostin stated, this was neither the homeowners fault nor the jury's fault nor the law's fault...this is the boys' faults, and by extension their parents' faults for not instIlling in them a right and wrong ethic, and an action and consequences correlation...This is a rampant ideology in the country today, nothing is wrong unless you get caught....I'm just disappointed in Dr. Phil acting like they this was not a big deal.  It was a very big deal for which they have to pay for their actions.  No matter what the studio audience feels, the jury made a decision based on evidence to which we as viewers had no access.  Obviously it's a sad situation, but we have to teach our children and grandchildren that for every action, their is a consequence with which we have to live.  I've never written in to the show before, and I won't check back to see if anyone agrees or disagrees, because, like me, everyone has a right to their own opinion.   CJ
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