ELKHART – — April Sparks was waiting in line to pre-pay for gas at a 7-Eleven store when she overheard a conversation she didn’t want to hear.
“They don’t deserve that,” the cashier said.
“They should spend their lives in prison,” the customer in front of her said.
Sparks knew exactly whom they were talking about. The small community 160 miles north of Indianapolis seemed split on the fates of four teenagers catapulted into unwanted fame because of one stupid mistake. One of them was her son.
Sparks left, quietly, and went elsewhere to buy gas.
Her son’s life changed forever on the afternoon of Oct. 3, 2012, when he and four friends broke into a house, hoping to steal some money.
They thought the house was empty. None of the teens expected an armed homeowner to be inside. None of them was armed. None foresaw a shooting. But the homeowner, who was sleeping upstairs, did rush downstairs and did fire a handgun — killing one of the teens.
How is this case in any way controversial?
The five perps conspired to commit a felony. They undertook what they knew to be risky behavior (else why would they have passed on the first two potential targets), and knew it was risky enough that they took steps to avoid police, by posting a lookout.
Has the felony murder rule been unjustly used elsewhere? Likely. But not here.