The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, November 06, 2019 1:00 am

Girlfriend admits she hid suspect in shooting

Lied to police about man charged in May 30 killing

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne woman whose boyfriend is charged in the shooting death of a young mother has admitted to hiding him and helping him flee from police. 

Tianna N. Howze, 28, pleaded guilty Monday in Allen Superior Court to assisting a criminal in connection with the murder case and battery related to a separate armed robbery that investigators said happened about the same time as the May 30 killing. 

Howze saw Leon Lumpkin shoot Arrianna L. Henderson, 20, once in the head about 1 a.m. and stayed with him afterward at an apartment where police arrived hours later, looking for him, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Lumpkin, 27, then “fled out the back of the building when the police were checking the apartment,” the document said. 

“Detectives (Brian) Martin and (Dan) Hutson asked Tianna if (Lumpkin) was or had been present when they arrived at her apartment on (May 30),” police wrote in the affidavit. “She denied his presence and allowed him to flee from officers.”

Lumpkin was arrested the next day and is charged with murder, felony murder and two counts each of robbery and armed robbery. Prosecutors also filed a sentencing enhancement punishable by up to 20 years in prison for allegedly using a gun to commit the crime. 

His trial had been set to start next week, but a judge agreed to move it to April 13 after Lumpkin's attorney asked for a postponement. 

Details of Howze's involvement are new and come more than five months after the slaying. She had been charged with two counts of robbery in the other case, but prosecutors have agreed to dismiss those charges as part of an agreement that indicates Howze could testify against Lumpkin. 

She faces up to 81/2 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 6 but could be pushed back until after she testifies in Lumpkin's trial. 

Henderson, the mother of a toddler, was killed after she rolled her eyes at Lumpkin, court records said. Her body was found under the pavilion at the Chapel Oaks apartment complex in the 800 block of Buchanan Street. 

Lumpkin told investigators he recognized Henderson as a gang member who was a rival of his “little brother's gang,” an affidavit alleges. A surveillance camera captured the shooting, and Lumpkin – referred to in court documents as Howze's boyfriend – admitted to the killing, according to the affidavit. 

In the other case, police said Lumpkin and Howze attacked an unnamed woman between midnight and 1:15 a.m. May 30 and stole cash and items from her purse. The woman told police Lumpkin held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her. Lumpkin pistol-whipped the woman at least three times, according to court documents, and Howze punched her in the head before striking her with a keyring lanyard. Investigators said they took $30 in cash and a preloaded debit card worth $145.22. 

The woman was taken to the hospital with a possible head injury and several scrapes and bruises. She also had a hole in her left ear “large enough to put a finger through,” an affidavit states.

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