MICHIGAN CITY – A local teen accused of murder in January was acquitted of the charge on Friday.
Javan D. Brown faced a jury in La Porte Superior Court 1 this week; and after about 3.5 days of evidence and 3.5 hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty” to murder.
But they did convict Brown of the lesser-included charge of reckless homicide, a Level 5 felony punishable by up to six years in prison; and of a misdemeanor count of dangerous possession of a firearm.
Michigan City Police arrested Brown on Jan. 16. after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Justin Ameer Garner inside a vehicle in the 200 block of Jackson Street.
Garner died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, and Brown reportedly admitted to police at the scene that he’d been seated behind Garner in the vehicle prior to the gun firing.
Initially, police were concerned the shooting had been committed as an act of retaliation for the December 2018 murder of Brown’s older brother, as indicated during a probable cause hearing on Jan. 17.
However, evidence presented at trial showed the two shootings were unrelated.
Brown is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Dec. 5.