In January 2014, the Dr. Phil Show highlighted a criminal case from Elkhart, Indiana, that resulted in two juveniles being convicted and sentenced pursuant to Indiana’s felony murder law. Neither killed another human being, but were present when a co-defendant was killed. A brief overview of the cases are available at this Indiana Law Blog post. The juveniles’ cases are currently winding through the appellate process.
The felony murder statute, IC 35-42-1-1 states: “A person who… kills another human being while committing or attempting to commit arson, burglary, child molesting, consumer product tampering, criminal deviate conduct, kidnapping, rape, robbery, human trafficking, promotion of human trafficking, sexual trafficking of a minor, or carjacking…commits murder, a felony.” The sentencing range for murder is forty-five to sixty-five years of incarceration, with the advisory sentence of fifty-five years, pursuant to IC 35-50-2-3(a).
For an analysis on whether the felony murder statute should be applied to juveniles, see The Elkhart Four and Unjust Application of the Felony Murder Rule on Teens, by Steve Drizin, posted on the Huffington Post blog (October 4, 2013).
For information on the Dr. Phil Show episode, see Elkhart 4: Justice of Overkill (January 17, 2014).
There is a website maintained by supporters of the Elkhart 4 that is updated regularly, including a link to the Dr. Phil Show episode on YouTube and information about the defendants.