FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A 17-year-old boy faces more than four decades in prison after being found guilty Thursday of playing a role in a fake gun deal that led to the shooting death of a man this past November.
A jury in Allen Superior Court found Lonnel Tinker guilty of felony murder and robbery causing serious bodily injury in connection with the death of 27-year-old Johnny Ray Yates, Sr., who was shot after meeting a group of people in a vehicle to exchange guns.
Fort Wayne Police and emergency responders found Yates suffering from at least two gunshot wounds to his back inside a car found along Monroe Street on Nov. 28.
He later died from his wounds at a local hospital and his death was ruled by the Allen County Coroner as a homicide.
A woman identified as Yates’ girlfriend drove him to the 2900 block of Reed Street in order to meet with three “younger adults” who wanted to trade guns, according to court documents.
The three were supposed to trade a Glock 48 with a drum magazine for two of Yates’ guns, the woman told detectives in court documents.
While she sat in the driver’s seat and Yates sat in the car’s passenger seat, two people got into the back seat of the car to conduct the gun deal, court documents said. One of those people the woman identified as Tinker, who sat right behind Yates.
A third person then approached the car and greeted Yates through the window. After that, the people in the back seat drew handguns and pointed them at Yates and the woman, the woman told detectives in court documents.
They then began to demand they that they hand over everything they had.
The woman told detectives she shut off the car and one of the people in the backseat then snatched the keys out of the ignition. She snatched them back, she said during the interview with detectives, and then heard gunshots from the area where Tinker was sitting.
The woman dove out of the car onto the ground and watched the two men in the backseat of the car as well as the one who approached it and greet Yates flee. She hopped back into the car and began to drive, she said, ending up on Monroe Street.
The jury, however, found Yates not guilty of an enhancement charge of using a gun in the commission of a crime.
Another man accused of being in the car during the shooting, 24-year-old Anfernee Michael Sho Time Dean, is charged with murder and robbery causing serious bodily injury in connection with Yates’ death.
Dean’s trial is scheduled for August.
Tinker faces 45 to 85 years in prison when he’s sentenced April 24.