INDIANAPOLIS — Prosecutors in Marion County plan to dismiss a murder charge against an Indianapolis man who had been accused of killing his ex-girlfriend inside her own home.
The killing took place on Christmas morning in 2020. 40-year-old Tiffiny Allen was shot to death inside a home on South Hunter Road.
Court records that show as part of a plea agreement this week, the murder suspect pleaded guilty to burglary in exchange for the murder charge being dropped.
That decision came against the wishes of the victim’s loved ones who say the system failed their family.
“It’s heart-wrenching to know we’ll never have closure,” said the victim’s friend Nicole Weddle.
“I feel like I’m reliving her death all over again,” said the victim’s mother Julie Allen Witt.
Allen’s friends and family gathered to voice their frustration that the man prosecutors claim took Allen’s life, Zacharia Schmidt, pleaded guilty to burglary instead of murder.
As part of a plea agreement, Schmidt agreed to serve 10 years with the Indiana Department of Corrections followed by 3 years of home detention. To date, he has already served 2 and a half years behind bars.
“Burglary doesn’t have anything to do with the murder,” Julie said. “We don’t understand how they want to win, so they got a burglary charge instead of a murder. He didn’t steal anything but her life.”
According to the affidavit, Schmidt left the scene of the killing only to return hours later covered in the victim’s blood. The murder weapon was found wiped free of prints and the coroner ruled the case a homicide.
Schmidt’s sister, Chelsea, repeatedly lied to police that the death was a suicide.
Chelsea pleaded guilty this year to assisting a criminal commit murder. Her sentence was almost entirely suspended and she was placed on probation.
“I’m just frustrated because it doesn’t make sense,” said the victim’s oldest daughter, Hayleigh Mitchell.
The family said prosecutors told them jail phone calls indicate Chelsea admitted to the murder, but she has not been charged with that crime.
In a motion filed in August to investigate the jail calls, the defense explained that Chelsea “made statements against her own interest in recorded jail calls while she was incarcerated.”
“So now they’re saying they don’t know which one killed my mom and they can’t pin it on Zach,” said Mitchell.
Still, Allen’s family insists the case should have gone to trial, win, lose or draw.
“Yeah if we lost it all, that’s the risk we’ve been willing to take from day one,” said Mitchell.
“This family is hurting,” Weddle said. “They lost a loved one and no one is being held accountable.”
The family also criticized the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for allowing Chelsea, Zacharia and other family to get together inside the jail when Chelsea earned her High School Equivalency degree.
The family worries that meeting allowed the co-defendants to speak about the murder case without being properly monitored.
The Sheriff’s Office posted a picture of that meeting on their Facebook page. Zacharia was pending trial for murder when the picture was taken.
Sentencing in Schmidt’s case is set to take place in early October.
The family says three different prosecutors handled the case over the last 2-plus years.
The prosecutor’s office did not respond to our request for comment.