The Journal Gazette
Saturday, August 10, 2019 1:00 am

Joyner pleads guilty in slayings

Facing 200 years for Thanksgiving deaths

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne man who admitted killing three people and badly injuring two others on Thanksgiving likely will be ordered to spend 200 years behind bars when he is sentenced next month. 

Kameron Joyner, 23, told a judge Thursday he committed the crimes, pleading guilty in Allen Superior Court to three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. A felony criminal recklessness charge will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement. 

The agreement calls for a 150-year sentence on the murder charges and 50 years on the attempted murder charges. The sentences would be served back-to-back, for a total of 200 years.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled Sept. 5, and it will be the third time since April a local man faces a prison sentence of at least two centuries.

The grandson of a former Fort Wayne Police Department captain and the great-nephew of a retired police spokesman, Joyner reportedly told investigators after the shootings he went to the home on Downingtown Drive to kill a man over a drug debt. 

He told police he and an accomplice arrived at 6116 Downingtown Drive to settle a score with Colton D. Messmer, a probable cause affidavit alleged. Messmer, 20, was selling marijuana from the home, a witness said, and was killed along with Joevonn M. Johnson, 23, and Tracey A. Andrews, 21. 

Teryle King was shot in the back, and Kyle Wagner was shot in the face. 

Wagner told police who arrived at the home around 10:30 p.m. two men came to the home to commit a robbery, and a woman inside the home told them she was certain Joyner was the shooter. 

Gerald Pinkston, 22, also is charged with three counts of murder and criminal recklessness. His trial is scheduled Dec. 3.

Joyner was arrested Nov. 23 and admitted to the killings, Fort Wayne police Detective Brian Martin wrote in the affidavit. 

“(Joyner) advised that when he got to the residence he was surprised by the number of people inside the home,” the document states. “(He) advised that after being at the residence for five or ten minutes he stood up from his chair, walked in the kitchen, walked back out and started firing his gun at the victims.”

A three-day trial had been scheduled to start next week. 

The expected sentence for Joyner is long, but it is dwarfed by the 300-year sentence given in July to Marcus Dansby.

Dansby, 23, had faced the death penalty but avoided it when he pleaded guilty to killing four people – one, his unborn child – and trying to kill another in 2016 in a massacre a veteran police officer called “one of the most profane acts of evil” he had witnessed. 

Dansby is being held at the Indiana Department of Correction Reception Diagnostic Center in Plainfield. 

Deyante Stephens, 28, was sentenced in April to 200 years behind bars. He killed two women and the near-term fetus of one of the women in a home on Lillie Street in January 2018. 

Jurors convicted him in March, and Stephens is being held at the maximum security Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill. He filed a notice of appeal in May.  

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