Story Summary

Two juveniles charged in crime spree

babette court resizeThe Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating several crimes across the city that occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

At approximately 8 a.m., police responded to the 3300 block of Babette Court, after a woman called to report her husband sounded distressed while on the phone with her before the call was disconnected.  When officers arrived to the area, they found 38-year-old John Yingling unresponsive in the cab of his truck.

Later that morning, another man was shot while walking his dog in the area of Eagle Creek Reservoir. Police said witnesses reported a blue SUV was connected to the incidents.

Officers pursued a vehicle matching the description of the one tied to the shootings. That pursuit ended in a crash near Brownsburg that involved several vehicles. Two juveniles in the SUV were taken into custody.

Police later revealed that the teens were suspects in a series of crimes.

The teen suspects, Sirquain Burr and Gabriel Edwards, were both charged as adults in connection with the crime spree.

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Above: Gabriel Edwards (left) and Sirquain Burr (right)

INDIANAPOLIS – The two teens charged as adults in a deadly February crime spree could be tried as co-defendants.

Prosecutors filed a motion to have Sirquain Burr and Gabriel Edwards tried together. The teens are charged in a string of crimes, including the deadly shooting of a south side man in his driveway. The spree ended in a multi-vehicle crash in Brownsburg in February.

In June, a judge ruled that Edwards, who was 15 during the crime spree and has since turned 16, would have his case waived to adult court. Burr, who was 17 and has since turned 18, was also charged as an adult. Charges against them include murder, attempted murder and robbery.

Edwards’ attorney doesn’t object to the motion, but Burr’s attorney does. A judge is expected to rule on the motion in the coming weeks.

Above: Gabriel Edwards (left), Sirquain Burr (right)

INDIANAPOLIS – Two teenagers charged in connection with a February crime spree appeared in court Tuesday.

Gabriel Edwards, 15, and Sirquain Burr, 18, had not guilty pleas entered on their behalf.

They’re accused in a series of crimes, including robberies, car thefts and shootings. Police said the crime spree included the fatal shooting of John Yingling in his driveway and ended with a multi-vehicle crash in Brownsburg in a stolen SUV.

Edwards’ case was waived to adult court last week. Burr had already been charged as an adult. They’re due back in court next month.

A teenager charged in a February crime spree was formally charged as an adult Tuesday.

Gabriel Edwards, 15, faces 14 charges, including murder, robbery and auto theft. Edwards was arrested following the spree on Feb. 13. His friend, Sirquain Burr, was arrested as well.

Edwards said he met Burr, whom he calls “Six”, in January.

Both teens are accused of several robberies, a high speed chase and the death of 38-year-old John Yingling.

Yingling’s ex-wife, Janet, said the past few months have been difficult.

“I couldn’t even begin to say how hard it’s been. I mean, he was, I’ve known him since I was like 17,” Janet Yingling said.

During the string of alleged crimes, Edwards and Burr are also accused of shooting a man who was walking his dog.

Edwards told detectives he was driving that day.

According to court documents, Edwards said Burr got out of the car and approached Yingling’s truck.

“Edwards stated that he saw the brake lights come on and figured Burr must have gotten the truck. He then heard a pop and saw Burr running towards the car. Burr was carrying a handgun. Burr told him he couldn’t get the truck.

“Edwards drove away from the area. Edwards stated that he was driving the Ford Expedition during the chase. He stated that Burr attempted to wipe fingerprints off of the .380 handgun and threw it out of the driver’s window. He stated that Burr also threw an object out of the passenger side window also,” the court documents read.

Janet Yingling and her family plan to attend the hearings.

“It doesn’t matter which one of them pulled the tripper. They were both in the car. They both knew what was happening. They both knew what they were doing,” Janet Yingling said.

Burr faces several charges, including murder, attempted murder and robbery. Burr was 17 when he was arrested for the crimes. He is now 18.

“Why didn’t someone stop them before? That’s just what I want to know. Why didn’t someone stop them before? It could have been prevented had the juvenile system done its job and kept the boys like they should have,” Janet Yingling said.

Edwards is scheduled to appear in court July 9 at 2 p.m.

A teenager accused in a February crime spree that ended in a man’s death has been formally charged as an adult.

Gabriel Edwards appeared in court Tuesday to hear the charges against him. In all, 14 counts were filed, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, attempted robbery, carrying a handgun without a license, resisting arrest and auto theft.

Last week, Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores waived Edwards’ case from the juvenile justice system to adult court. In that ruling, Moores wrote that keeping Edwards in the juvenile system was not in the best interest of public safety.

Investigators said Edwards was behind the wheel during a cross-county crime spree that included the deadly shooting of John Yingling in his Southport driveway and another incident in which a man was shot while walking his dog on the west side. Edwards and another teen then crashed in Brownsburg following a police chase.

Edwards had been in juvenile probation programs previously. His attorney argued that he was not beyond rehabilitation, though prosecutors countered that it was clear the juvenile justice system had not worked in his case. Prosecutors said they felt the teen had run out of second chances.

Edwards underwent a psychological evaluation that found he exhibited anti-social behavior in addition to  poor decision-making and risk-assessment skills.

The other teen in the case, Sirquain Burr, 18, is also charged as an adult. Burr was 17 when the crimes were committed.

From juvenile detention, to the county jail – those are the next steps for 15-year-old Gabriel Edwards.  By early next week he will be charged. The family of a man, killed in the crime spree Edwards was allegedly involved in, did not wait that long to breathe a sigh of relief, though.

“Thank God.”

That was Janet Yingling’s reaction when she heard the news. Edwards will be tried as an adult.

“It will not end, I just hope they get their punishment,” said Yingling.

Edwards is not the one accused of killing Janet’s husband, John, but Yingling said the boy knew what he was doing.

“This was no surprise,” said Yingling.  “It was just a matter of time before he actually did it. Not that he pulled the trigger, but he was involved.”

Sirquain Burr and Edwards are accused of a crime spree that spanned several Central Indiana counties.  It began with armed robberies, stolen cars and the shooting of a man walking his dog. It ended with a crash on West 56th Street in Hendricks County.

The prosecutor’s office said Edwards has a criminal past, but that was not the biggest reason why Edwards is being bumped up to adult court.

“Some criminal history factored in, but she seemed to focus to a great extent on the reckless nature of these acts,” said Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Denise Robinson, “the fact that they were on a spree and the victims were truly innocent victims in this case.”

“Every second of it,” said daughter Stacey Yingling.  “Every second of it.”

Every day the family thinks about what happened on that February morning.  If the teenagers, Gabriel Edwards and Sirquain Burr are in court, they will be there every day.

“To show my support amongst the Yingling family,” said Stacey Yingling. “That is something that we should do.  That is how I see it (to show them) that somebody does care.”

A 15-year-old suspect accused of taking part in a cross-county crime spree that included murder and shootings will be tried as an adult.

Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores announced the decision Friday, waiving the case from the juvenile justice system to adult court.

Gabriel Edwards was arrested Feb. 13 after a crime wave that included several armed robberies and vehicle thefts, the shooting of a man walking his dog and the murder of a man in his Southport driveway.

Moores wrote that it is “not in the best interest of the safety and welfare of the community that that Gabriel Edwards remain in the juvenile justice system,” adding that he is “beyond rehabilitation” and should stand trial as an adult.

Moores said Edwards wasn’t a passenger or held against his will by the other teen charged in the case, writing that “he was the driver who made decisions about where to go and why.” Moores said the crimes Edwards is accused of “are heinous or aggravated in character.”

Edwards had been in juvenile probation programs previously. His attorney argued that he was not beyond rehabilitation, though prosecutors countered that it was clear the juvenile justice system had not worked in his case. Prosecutors said they felt the teen had run out of second chances.

In January, less than a month before the fatal crime spree, Edwards was arrested for vehicle theft, criminal trespass and receiving stolen property and placed on home therapy and 30 days of electronic monitoring.

A psychological evaluation in March found the teenager exhibited average intelligence and anti-social behavior and possessed poor decision-making and risk-assessment skills. A child psychologist said Edwards is prone to acts of impulse because of attention deficit disorder.

Moore said, despite those findings, the crime spree was not an act of impulsivity. Edwards, Moores wrote, had several opportunities to discontinue the four-hour crime spree.

“The juvenile justice system is not capable of protecting the safety and welfare of the community from youth behaving so recklessly, so violently, so callously because it cannot retain jurisdiction over them long enough to ensure that they are rehabilitated and that such conduct is not repeated,” Moores wrote.

Edwards is accused of being the wheelman for Sirquain Burr, who investigators think pulled the trigger, killing John Yingling. Their crime spree ended with a crash on West 56th Street in Hendricks County. Burr’s case has already been moved to adult court.

The ruling means that, if convicted, Edwards would serve the first part of his term in the juvenile facility at the Wabash Correctional Facility. He would then be placed in the general prison population before he turns 20 years old.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A 15-year-old accused of a cross-county crime spree that included murder was accused of stealing guns from his family’s house and failing previous juvenile probation programs.

Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores concluded a waiver hearing to determine if the boy should be tried as an adult.

The Pike High School student was arrested Feb. 13 after a crime wave that included several armed robberies and vehicle thefts, the shooting of a man walking his dog and the murder of a man in his Southport driveway.

The boy is accused of being the wheelman for Sirquain Burr, 18, who investigators think pulled the trigger, killing John Yingling.

A police chase ended with a crash on West 56th Street in Hendricks County following the shootings.

Dr. James Dalton testified that he conducted a psychological evaluation of the boy in March. He said the teenager is of below average intelligence, has poor decision making and risk-assessment skills and exhibits anti-social behavior.

The boy reads at a 3rd-grade level, had never been assigned a specialized education program and likely suffers from an attention deficit disorder.

Judge Moores, who must decide if the boy will be tried in the juvenile or adult system and sentenced accordingly, asked if the teen is more vulnerable to poor decision making even if he receives training and counseling.

Dalton said the boy would “always struggle” with such decision making.

IMPD Detective Marcus Kennedy testified that bullets and shell casings recovered from the scenes of both shootings matched the .380 caliber handgun tossed from the stolen vehicle during the chase. Kennedy said the younger teen admitted his role in the crime spree in a taped statement.

Jennette Whattley, a juvenile probation officer assigned to Pike High School, said the boy was failing to comply with counseling and home detention orders following a 2012 complaint regarding criminal mischief.

In January, less than a month before the fatal crime spree, the teen was arrested for vehicle theft, criminal trespass and receiving stolen property and place on home therapy and 30 days of electronic monitoring.

The boy’s mother told Whattley that her son was leaving the house in violation of monitoring rules, was defiant, didn’t attend counseling and stole several guns from the family home.

If Judge Moores assigns the boy’s case to juvenile court, and he’s convicted, he could serve his sentence in the Indiana Department of Corrections Pendleton Juvenile Facility until the eve of his 21st birthday. If the teen is waived over to the criminal system, and he’s convicted, he would be sentenced to serve the first part of this term in the juvenile facility at the Wabash Correctional Facility and then placed in the prison’s general population before he turns 20 years old.

Tim Hanlon of IDOC testified that 44 youth currently serve their terms in the Wabash juvenile unit and most will continue anti-social behavior once they are transferred to the general population.  Such offenders receive education, mental health and religious counseling while housed in the juvenile unit.

Christine Leffinger of IDOC testified that approximately 200 young offenders are housed in the Pendleton juvenile facility, most of them 15- and 16-years-old. Leffinger said the Pendleton juveniles traditionally have a 34 percent recidivism rate and return to incarceration.

During a break in testimony, deputy prosecutor Gregory Spencer said the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office believes that the teen has run out of second chances to be treated as a juvenile.

“Certainly we filed the motion for the waiver and feel it is appropriate that this juvenile face trial as an adult,” Spencer said. “I think the juvenile system has exhausted all the resources that have been used to address this individual.”

During the afternoon session, the boy’s mother testified that her son was failing at school and was defiant to his family.

“You know you make this seem like it’s been going on for years,” said defense attorney Kenneth Riggins. “It hasn’t. He got his first case last July and since then he’s been on track, but, he’s like anyone else, he should get a second chance. That’s what America’s about.”

In closing arguments, deputy prosecutor Tracy Fitz told Judge Moores that the boy was involved in several felonies and had proven himself beyond rehabilitation.

Riggins is expected to argue in a written closing statement that the child is a good candidate for rehabilitation.

Judge Moores remarked that the waiver portion of the case has already taken too long and she expects to make a timely ruling which could mean by the end of the week.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— A potential agreement to allow a 15-year-old boy to plead guilty for a February crime spree that involved murder has been turned down as the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, as the juvenile still faces the specter of trial in criminal court.

Both sides entered Judge Marilyn Moores’ juvenile courtroom Wednesday morning after discussing a potential deal that would have allowed the boy to plead guilty for his role in the killing of John Yingling, the shooting of another man and a police chase of a stolen vehicle that ended in a crash on West 56th Street.

“There’s no written plea agreement,” defense attorney Kenneth Riggins said after Wednesday’s hearing.

“There were discussions off the record between defense counsel and myself and a couple other individuals from the Marion County Prosecutors Office,” said Deputy Prosecutor Gregory Spencer.

Those talks included Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry before a proposed agreement fell apart and new waiver hearing dates were set for June 17 and 18.

“I just present the evidence and I think the evidence will hopefully show that he should remain in the juvenile system,” said Riggins.

“I think the facts of the case are of serious natures,” said Spencer. “I think that with the factor of the age of the defendant it’s appropriate for a waiver to be considered and to potentially face trial in adult court for the actions that are alleged to have been committed in this case.”

The boy is suspected of being at the wheel of that stolen SUV as his co-defendant, Sirquain Burr, now 18, fired the fatal shot that killed Yingling in his Southport driveway and later wounded a northwest side man who was walking his dog.

The younger teen is accused of other robberies and escaping his home detention the morning of the crime spree.

Janet Yingling, ex-wife of the murder victim, was outraged when informed by Fox59 News last week that a potential deal for the boy to plead guilty as a juvenile was in the works.

“He’s got numerous arrests for violent crimes,” said Yingling. “I mean him and this 17 year old, they went and they were holding up people in their garages. It’s ridiculous. And during the whole fiasco, this kid actually turned this truck around and went back to shoot at another guy. It’s ridiculous. He should be tried as an adult.”

“He had the choice to say no,” said Stacey Yingling, daughter of the victim. “It wasn’t that long ago that I was 15 and if one of my friends asked me to get in a vehicle to go do anything remotely close to what they were doing, it would have been ‘no’ and go home and he chose not to. Why?”

Spencer said his office wasn’t pressured by the families of victims to turn down the potential bargain.

“No, not at all. I don’t think you would classify them as negative comments of that nature,” Spencer said. “There were certainly concerns from the victims and we want to be representative of the people of the state of Indiana. We take those concerns very seriously.”

While the prosecutor will present more evidence of the crime spree later this month, Riggins said he would call corrections officials to testify about the boy’s history and demeanor since his arrest.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The juvenile court hearing for a teenager accused in a crime spree across the city continues Wednesday.

A judge could decide whether the juvenile should be charged as an adult.

Police said the teen and his 17-year-old accomplice, Sirquain Burr, killed a man in his Southport driveway, shot another man on the west side and then wrecked a stolen SUV during a police chase in February.

Burr stands trial as an adult, while the younger boy’s attorney is working to convince the court to have his client plead guilty as a juvenile.

“Just say we’re trying to work on a resolution that’s in the best interest of the public and everyone involved,” said Kenneth Riggins, the juvenile’s defense attorney.

The ex-wife of murder victim John Yingling told Fox59 the boy has already failed in the juvenile system. She believes the suspects should go to prison.

Fox59’s Russ McQuaid will be in court Wednesday morning and will have a complete update on Fox59 First at Four.

INDIANAPOLIS – A teenager accused of carrying out a cross-county crime spree in February is due back in juvenile court Wednesday.

The waiver hearing is being held to determine if the 15-year-old suspect should be tried as an adult. The judge called for a recess during proceedings last week.

In February, police said the teen and 17-year-old Sirquain Burr killed John Yingling during a robbery in his Southport driveway. After that, investigators said the pair shot a man who was walking his dog on the west side. The crime spree ended after the teens wrecked a stolen SUV in Brownsburg while being pursued by police.

Burr will stand trial as an adult. The younger suspect could as well, unless his attorney convinces the judge that the juvenile system is a better fit. It’s also possible that a plea deal could be arranged in the case.

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