The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 1:00 am

2 held in Easter morning slaying

Affidavit includes FBI wiretaps but no motive

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Javon Burnett was arguing with his girlfriend on Easter morning, April 1. She dropped him off at an apartment complex near Memorial Coliseum, and he tried to call her, but she hung up.

When she tried to call him back a few minutes later, the person who answered the phone told her Burnett had been shot.

Tyrion McNair, 25, and Joshua Smiley, 21, are charged with his murder, and the details outlining Burnett's final moments are included in probable cause affidavits filed in Allen Superior Court.

Burnett, 26, was at the complex to retrieve his car so he could go to his mother's house and go to church, the girlfriend told investigators. He was found dead, with multiple gunshot wounds, between two buildings at The Summit at Ridgewood Apartments about 10 a.m.

The affidavits do not provide a motive for the killing.

The three-page documents instead detail a monthlong investigation that included an alleged gang affiliation and wiretaps of McNair's communications by the FBI. More than a dozen people provided Fort Wayne police eyewitness accounts of the shooting and cellphone conversations to tie the suspects to the crime.

One witness who is not identified in court documents allegedly told police he gave McNair a gun and a rented gray Hyundai Sonata and “it flew past my mind” that he and Smiley were headed to kill someone. The witness later asked for his gun back, but McNair said it was gone and refused to say where it was, the affidavits allege.

The Sonata is seen on video from traffic cameras in the area where the shooting took place, investigators said.

“Witness 12 advised that Tyrion McNair was acting very nervous and 'zoning out' after the homicide,” the affidavits state.

Police asked the witness whether he knew McNair killed Burnett.

“Witness 12 nodded his head up and down,” according to the documents.

Another witness told police Burnett didn't trust Smiley and said someone took Burnett's phone from the scene of the shooting and gave it to his parents, court documents said.

The phone listed a call from “Lil Josh” – identified by a witness as Smiley – at 9:52 a.m., just minutes before Burnett was killed, investigators said.

Arrest warrants for both men were issued Friday, and a spokesman for the Allen County Sheriff's Department said they are in custody at the Allen County Jail.

McNair apparently was on the radar of the FBI, which was investigating him and the “MAFIA” street gang, according to court documents. Police shared information from a cellphone with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, the affidavits state.  

McNair faces drug charges in federal court, according to an indictment returned in April. He allegedly sold an FBI informant thousands of dollars' worth of amphetamine, court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne allege.

A jury trial in that case is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Smiley was a suspect in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Concordia High School student in 2015.

Criminal recklessness charges were dropped in 2017 after witnesses who had identified Smiley and two others as those who had fired guns backed out.

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