FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The man who shot a Fort Wayne barbershop owner to death earlier this year has been sentenced.
An Allen Superior Court judge on Monday handed James Dodson, Jr. a max sentence of 87 1/2 years for the April 9 shooting death of Michael LoVett, Jr., or Champ, at the Legendary Barber Shop at 1718 Lake Ave., near North Anthony Boulevard. A jury convicted Dodson of Murder and Criminal Recklessness last month.
Fort Wayne police and medics were called to the intersection of North Anthony Boulevard and Lake Avenue around 6:20 p.m. When they arrived, they found LoVett suffering from an apparent gunshot wound in front of his barbershop.
He was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene. He’d suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Allen Superior Court this week, LoVett’s girlfriend told investigators she and LoVett were on the way back from dinner when he took a phone call from Dodson about cutting his hair. The girlfriend said the LoVett and Dodson got into an argument and it was “so intense that Michael did not finish cutting James’ hair,” and Dodson left the barber shop, the affidavit said.
The woman said she left to pick up her children from daycare and she spoke briefly to LoVett on the phone, but a short time later she got a phone call about LoVett being shot, the affidavit said.
During an interview with police, the woman identified Dodson as the man who’d argued with LoVett, the affidavit said. She said he was wearing yellow pants, yellow shoes, a white T-shirt and a multi-colored jacket, the affidavit said.
Police spoke with another person who said she was traveling along Lake Avenue and was stopped in traffic at Anthony Boulevard when she heard gunshots. The woman said she looked and saw a man running, clothed in a multi-colored jacket, the affidavit said.
Surveillance camera footage from a gas station across Lake Avenue from the barber shop also showed a man in yellow pants, a white T-shirt and a multi-colored jacket walk toward the barber shop, while two others approach the shop, as well.
That video showed LoVett come to the front door of the barber shop and confront a person in white and black. At that point, the person in white and black charged at LoVett and opened fire, the affidavit said. The affidavit said that Dodson then pulled out a handgun and he, too, shot at LoVett.
Dodson then ran off as a Lexus SUV sped off through a gas station parking lot, while other people ran down Lake Avenue, the affidavit said.
Later, police were contacted by a human resources worker at Advanced Assembly, who said multiple employees had said an employee – Dodson – had killed “the barber, Michael LoVett, Jr.,” the affidavit said. The HR worker provided pictures of Dodson to police that showed him in a multi-colored jacket that “matches the one he was wearing during the shooting,” the affidavit said.
Dodson was arrested in Starkville, Mississippi, in May