MICHIGAN CITY – Against the advice of his attorney, a 16-year-old murder suspect requested a fast and speedy trial in his case on Thursday.
However, a congested schedule in La Porte Superior Court 1 – and a scheduling conflict with Javan D. Brown’s public defender – kept the judge from explicitly granting or denying that request.
Brown is now scheduled to stand before a jury beginning Oct. 28.
He’s accused of fatally shooting 18-year-old Justin Ameer Garner in the back of the head while both were inside a vehicle in the 200 block of Jackson Street on Jan. 16.
Michigan City Police Detective Michelle Widelski testified in January that police were concerned the shooting may have been retaliation for the murder of Brown’s brother, 18-year-old Dareon Brown, who was fatally shot in December.
Hakim Zamir Lamar Qualls, then 16, was arrested and charged with the elder Brown’s murder.
According to Widelski, Javan Brown called 911 at 7:56 p.m. the day of Garner's murder to report a potential drive-by shooting with unknown injuries.
When police arrived minutes later, she said, they found Garner dead in the driver’s seat of a white 2014 Chrysler 200. The car was in drive; his foot was on the brake; and a rear passenger door was open.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bethany Beckman presented photographs showing Garner had been shot once in the back of the head.
She said the photos indicate the bullet that killed him was fired from between the back support and head rest of his seat, where investigators photographed a muzzle imprint and bullet hole.
Widelski testified that Javan Brown told police at the scene he'd been seated directly behind Garner in the car prior to the shooting.
Both Qualls and the younger Brown remain incarcerated on separate bonds of $1 million each.
Both boys have been charged as adults, each with one count of murder, punishable by 45-65 years in prison. They are also charged with dangerous possession of a firearm, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison.
Qualls is set to face a jury in his case, which is also in La Porte Superior Court 1, on Sept. 23.