FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Two days before Christmas three years ago, Javon Thomas got out of a borrowed 2014 black Nissan and lay in wait for Hakeem Cage to walk to his apartment at The Summit.
Thomas, then 17, and his cousin, Korta Thomas, 23, had been at a party at the Hawthorn Suites where Cage made no secret of the amount of cash he was carrying, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Walking to his apartment with his girlfriend at 4 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2020, Cage was shot several times by Thomas, who then stopped to rifle through his pockets before jumping back into the Nissan with Korta Thomas at the wheel, court documents said.
Wednesday, Thomas was sentenced to 55 years after pleading guilty to murder. Ten of those years were suspended, and he is to serve 45 years at an Indiana prison.
Although Cage’s mother and sister attended the sentencing, neither of them wanted to speak. Cage’s mother said what she wanted to say couldn’t be published.
The women deferred to Allen County prosecutor and chief counsel Tesa Helge who gave the victim’s mother a warm hug outside the courtroom.
The cousins were caught on Memorial Coliseum surveillance cameras across Parnell Avenue from The Summit and at Hawthorn. Witnesses, such as the girlfriend, spoke to law enforcement, Helge said.
“This case was a complicated dynamic,” Helge said. “It was a very well-worked case by law enforcement. It came in around the holidays and they worked tirelessly to try and charge Javon Thomas with this case. We began to learn more information about some other individuals who had knowledge and may be involved and they came through on that as well.”
Down the road, the prosecutors also obtained some incriminating DNA evidence, Helge added.
Thomas sat in the courtroom awaiting what he already knew was his sentence. His defense attorney, Ryan Gardner, asked the judge to take into consideration his drug use, which was said to start at the age of eight.
Thomas has spent 887 days at the Allen County Jail, Gardner said, and accepted responsibility for his actions. Gardner asked that while in prison Thomas would be able to access drug recovery programs.
Korta Thomas, who drove the getaway car, will be sentenced Friday.