**WARNING: This story contains graphic content not suitable for all readers.**
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) —Friday, a 30-year-old local man accused of ambushing another man for some kind of never-explained beef, was found guilty of murder by a jury in Allen Superior Court.
The jury also found Haywood guilty of the gun enhancement which could add 20 years on to his sentence. Murder carries a sentence between 45 and 65 years in Indiana.
Demaury Haywood, 30, was charged with alleged co-accomplice Devonte Travier, with the death of Diasha Fitts, a local southeast side barber, who accompanied the targeted man, Brandon Golden, to Fraternal Order of Eagles charity casino on Bluffton Road in Waynedale.
The two left the Eagles at 11:24 p.m. on Feb. 19, according video surveillance taken from multiple cameras inside and outside the casino. They were back at the Eagles at 11:31 p..m. with Golden screaming for help as a retired police officer and others tried as best they could to comfort Fitts and save her life before medics arrived.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Wagner testified that the wound inflicted from one bullet shot into her neck, exiting her jaw and ripping the jugular vein, wouldn’t have been survivable for more than a few minutes.
In a probable cause affidavit, Golden told police he saw a gray car pull up next to him at Winchester Road and Airport Expressway and shoot into the vehicle. In court, he didn’t remember seeing anyone.
That 2021 rental gray Nissan Versa and three other vehicles were keys to the case. Defense attorney Robert Scremin said just because Haywood and Travier’s DNA was found on the steering wheel, gearshaft and passenger door handle of the Nissan, it didn’t mean the two used it in the ambush where there were no eyewitnesses and no cameras.
But Chief Counsel Tesa Helge and deputy prosecutor Alik Hall said that was exactly why the duo chose that dark intersection after getting tipped off by Trevor Giddens, a casino regular who watched Golden and Fitts as they played blackjack, reported their movements back to Haywood and then tipped Haywood off when they left.
The question hovering over the whole trial was why such an ambush would take place. Could it really be a beef over a woman when Golden claimed on the stand he didn’t know Haywood? Or was it more sinister as another witness said during a deposition that the streets said “there was money on his (Golden’s) head.”
WANE did not name this witness because his name did not appear in text messages, phone calls and he objected to appearing in court because he fears for his life. His deposition was read out loud to the jury.
The role of Giddens is crucial to the story. Caught on camera inside the casino, at first, he was reluctant to speak to detectives, then appeared to spill the beans. Scremin seized on that as someone who was desperate to get out of a 5-hour police interview and finally wrote down the names of Haywood and Travier to get out of there. Otherwise, Anglin had told him the cops had enough on him to charge him with murder.
Plus, Scremin said there was no evidence to link Haywood to a 602 phone number, no bills, no saved recognizable name in anyone else’s phone, but that was the phone used to interact with Giddens at the casino the night of the shooting.
“He doesn’t want to go to prison in a wheelchair,” Scremin theorized. “He doesn’t want to be killed by one of his co-conspirators. You give the police the names of someone who isn’t a killer.”
But, that number was used again and again inside the Noble County Jail where Haywood landed on federal charges a few days after the shooting, and anyway, the Arizona area code was plausible because Haywood had contacts there, Hall said.
The lifestyle of local gamblers is a sub-theme running through the entire trial. The infamous 602 area code was used to transfer $2,000 through one of his girlfriend’s Cashapp accounts. That could sound fishy enough, but then the Cashapp account wasn’t on trial.
The 602 area code was used to make calls from the jail, but the transcripts didn’t reveal a murder plot, just Haywood telling the side chick not to say anything, false or truthful, Scremin said.
Helge said certain things made it impossible to believe Giddens was making up anything.
“There was no way Trevon (Giddens) would have known about these bullet holes in the passenger side of the Nissan Versa used in the shooting” and linked by glass shards found at the intersection.
Another incriminating story from the deposed witness told of Giddens getting pulled over the day after the shooting. Haywood told the witness “Man I just hope Cuz don’t fold.”
Haywood will be sentenced Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. Travier faces a jury for the same murder charge in March.