A Fort Wayne man was found guilty by a jury for the murder of a man last August at Texas Roadhouse.
On Thursday afternoon in Allen Superior Court, Andrew M. Cassaday, 29, of the 3200 block of Chancellor Drive, was found guilty of murder, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a handgun without a license in the death of Jeffrey M. Lute, 28, the 23rd homicide in Allen County in 2016.
Earlier this week witnesses testified tension built over time between Phil Elkins, the president of the Steel Horse Rebels, and Lute, the former vice president of the motorcycle club who left the organization in late 2015 over its mission.
Lute was having dinner with friends when one of them shot a video and posted it to her Snapchat account. Elkins testified he saw Lute was at the restaurant and "wanted to chew his a—." Several of the club members, including Cassaday, met first at the Sons of Ares clubhouse and then proceeded to Texas Roadhouse to confront Lute as he exited the restaurant.
Witnesses testified the men came up on Lute and his best friend pretty quickly, separating them and backing Lute up to the building and around the southwest corner. Witnesses also said Lute looked to be threatened, pulled his gun and shot Elkins in the right leg.
While Lute ran around the building to escape, Cassaday went to his car, got his gun and walked toward the front door of the business. When Lute rounded the northwest corner. Cassaday lifted his gun with both hands and fired at Lute.
The gunshot entered the right side of Lute's neck and severed his spine. The pathologist who performed Lute's autopsy said he died "almost immediately." He also suffered fresh bruising to his body not related to the fall to the pavement after he was shot.
The courtroom was silent as the verdicts were read and remained silent until everyone filed outside.
Cassaday faces between 45 and 65 years on the murder charge, up to 20 years on the firearm charge and one year for the handgun possession charge when Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck sentences him on May 26.