Man exonerates teen co-defendant in fatal shooting

By The Associated Press

FORT WAYNE — A northeastern Indiana man who pleaded guilty in an October killing told a judge before he was sentenced that a teenage co-defendant played no role in the slaying.

Jermaine Turner, 40, tried to exonerate Anthony M. Mitchell, 19, before a judge sentenced Turner on Thursday to 50 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Pablo Guzman Vasquez, 40.

“It was basically, wrong place, wrong time,” Turner told Allen County Judge Fran Gull, adding that Mitchell “had nothing to do with it.”

Mitchell's attorney, Robert Gevers, said during a March 6 hearing that Turner made phone calls after he pleaded guilty in February to murder in Vasquez’s slaying that would clear his client. Court filings say those calls “may be exculpatory in nature for Mr. Mitchell,” The Journal Gazette reported.

Mitchell faces murder, felony murder and robbery charges in the killing. His trial had been scheduled March 10, but Gull agreed to postpone it until Aug. 18 after learning of the phone calls.

Turner and Mitchell were together when Vasquez was slain, but Turner admitted firing the shots that killed him, according to court documents.

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