Girl charged in killings tied to attempted robbery

By The Associated Press

LAFAYETTE — A 17-year-old Lafayette girl has been charged in the fatal shootings of a pizza delivery driver and her boyfriend, who the delivery driver shot to death during an attempted robbery, authorities said.

Jaelynn Billups is accused of fatally shooting Joshua Ungersma, 37, last month shortly after Ungersma shot and killed her 19-year-old boyfriend, Alberto Vanmeter, who prosecutors allege was her accomplice in the planned robbery.

Under Indiana law, anyone who is killed in the commission of a felony, such as robbery, can be charged with that person’s death, even if that person was their alleged partner in crime.

Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington said Billups was charged as an adult in the two killings and the attempted robbery.

Billups allegedly ordered a pizza for delivery on Aug. 31 and had it sent to a Lafayette home that was not occupied. When Ungersma arrived, police said he fatally shot Vanmeter with a handgun he was permitted to carry as Vanmeter was trying to rob him.

A man who heard that shooting asked Ungersma is he was OK, and Ungersma replied that he was but asked him to call police in the city about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The witness said that while his roommate was calling police, Billups walked up to Ungersma and shot him several times, killing him, according to the affidavit.

She faces murder charges in Ungersma and Vanmeter's deaths, and one count each of armed robbery, theft, pointing a firearm and carrying a handgun without a license.

A judge scheduled Billups' trial for Feb. 23, 2021, during her Tuesday initial hearing in the case. Billups told the judge that her family intends to hire an attorney for her.

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