Elijah O. Freeman was 17 years old on April 3, the day he was murdered in broad daylight – shot as many as 10 times, according to Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Jason Custer.
Freeman tried to escape his killer, according to court documents filed in the case. He ran for his life, but instead was chased into the back yard of a home in the 900 block of Hugh Street, where he was gunned down.
Deadrian Boykins, the man who was charged with Freeman’s murder and convicted by a jury in November, found out his sentence in Allen Superior Court on Friday: 65 years, the maximum sentence allowed.
Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull rendered the verdict, taking special note of Boykins’ conduct during the proceeding – he and Freeman’s mother exchanged words, with Boykins using expletives at various points while declaring his innocence.
Boykins – who Custer described as “part of the problem in Fort Wayne” when asking for a maximum sentence, citing Boykins’ lengthy criminal history as a juvenile – indicated that he will appeal the verdict and that he was dissatisfied with the defense attorney who represented him. He did not address the court.
Steven Godfrey, also a deputy prosecutor with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, said Boykins’ conduct in court wasn’t simply disrespectful. It was the truest indicator of his character.
“This young man…look at what happened today. Look at what happened in this case,” Godfrey said. “Look at his history.”
“It (Freeman’s murder) was in broad daylight. (Boykins) didn’t care who saw. He chased (Freeman) and unloaded the gun into him,” Godfrey said. “But now, his attorney wasn’t good enough. He has no respect for this court. He has no respect for authority. None. Apparently, everything in his life is someone else’s fault.”
Godfrey praised the key witness in the case for coming forward, saying that when asked why he was coming forward, the witness indicated that “enough was enough” with regard to violence in the community.
Godfrey said it would be helpful if more individuals felt that way.
“We know there are people out there who see these things happen. We know that,” Godfrey said. “We need them to come forward.”
Boykins’ 65-year sentence will not begin until a 12-year sentence for robbery is finished.