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65-year sentence in midday slaying


FORT WAYNE – Deadrian Boykins, already a convicted robber at age 18, was sentenced Friday to 65 years for gunning down Elijah Freeman on April 3 at a home in the 900 block of Hugh Street.

The state's case against Boykins hinged largely on the testimony of a neighbor, who lived across the street from where the shooting occurred and saw most of it through the window in his garage.

But as deputy prosecutors told the jury during closing statements, nearly everything said by the 16 other witnesses, even those for the defense, corroborated that neighbor's statement of the trial's opening day.

Freeman's death was the county's 15th of 44 homicides so far this year. He was house-sitting, along with his girlfriend, at the Hugh Street home for spring break. That day, he went out on the porch to smoke a cigarette with at least one other person.

Freeman was shot to death moments later, run down from the front porch into the backyard with bullets hitting at close range. According to testimony, Freeman tried to evade and escape the shooter, getting up once, but dying in the backyard, his baseball hat a few feet away in the dirt.

Boykins testified in his own defense, telling the jury he had been in his own home at the time of the shooting – about 12:30 p.m.

His mother was the only person who testified she saw him at their Lillie Street home at the time of the shooting. Under cross-examination, however, she was asked about her statements to police days after the shooting, in which she said she likely was asleep until 2 p.m. that day, as was her custom.

For more on this story, see Saturday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to after 3 a.m. Saturday.