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Fort Wayne man found guilty in triple-murder trial

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The trial for a Fort Wayne man accused of three murders in 2018 wrapped up in the Allen County courthouse with a guilty verdict Thursday evening. 

Deyante Stephens was found guilty in the murder counts related to the shooting Preonda Jones, Brianna Gould and her unborn son. The shooting happened at a home in the 1200 block of Lillie Street in January, 2018.

The final day of the trial started with the jury listenintg to a DNA expert from the Indiana State Police Crime lab. She said DNA in the blood found at the house, on Stephens and his clothing matched him and the two victims. 

The defense called two witnesses to the stand Thursday: Stephens's uncle and Stephens's sister's baby's father. They both painted the scene of the early morning hours inside the home, but neither would say Stephens pulled the trigger.

The prosecution worked to poke holes in their stories by finding contridicting statements made during depositions in the fall. 

Closing arguments focused on the validity of the testimonies and the evidence that put Stephens at the scene, but didn't necessarily show Stephens pulled the trigger. 

The jury was given the case shortly after 4:00 p.m. and returned with the verdict shortly before 6:00 p.m. 

Stephens showed no emotion while the verdict was read.

The jury also found Stephens guilty of using a firearm in a felony.

Sentencing is set to happen in April.


Getting up to speed on the trial: 

Following jury selection and opening statements, several people took to the witness stand Tuesday to talk about the morning Deyante Stephens was arrested and Preonda Jones, Brianna Gould and her unborn, full-term son were killed.

Tuesday, a woman testified that she was asleep in the basement and woke up to the sound of gunshots and yelling.

The jury also heard several clips of 911 calls played.

Several police officers then were questionened by the prosecution and defense about their response to the scene and the investigation.They explained that Jones was found dead in the bathroom of the home while Gould was in the bathtub, alive, but disoriented. She and the baby would later die.

Pictures and video of the scene were presented to the jury while an crime scene investigator walked through a list of evidence with the proseuction.

A neighbor then took the stand telling the court Stephens tried breaking into the apartment he was in before the arrest was made.

The court also heard from a firearms expert who said shell casings at the scene matched each other and a fingerprint expert who testified it's difficult getting fingerprints from a gun magazine.

A call from Stephens from the Allen County jail was also played in the courtroom.

A woman testified during the jury's lunch break explaining she took Gould to the house but didn't go inside because she was under the impression, something drug-related was happening inside.


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