The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 03, 2020 1:00 am

Accused in slaying to say victim was violent

Lawyer asks judge to allow witnesses to support claim

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

The man charged with murder in the June 23 shooting death of Frashaune “Flip” Striverson will claim at trial next week the killing was in self-defense.

Amiracle N. Phifer, 23, also faces a sentencing enhancement for using a gun to commit the crime, and a three-day trial is scheduled to start Tuesday in Allen Superior Court. He could be sentenced to up to 85 years in prison if he is convicted.

Phifer filed a notice of self-defense in August, and court documents filed last week by defense attorney James Hanson ask a judge to allow statements from witnesses who are expected to testify Striverson was “a violent individual” with “a general reputation for violence.” Proof of a person's character can be used in murder trials to show the victim “was the initial aggressor, or ... the victim had a violent character and the defendant's knowledge of that character gave him reason to fear the victim,” the documents say. 

Prosecutors, in a four-page response, said the testimony should not be allowed.

They argue some of the expected statements from witnesses amount to rumor and hearsay.

At least one statement – about a fight the day before the shooting between Striverson and another man – does not show “imminent or impending danger,” which is required of self-defense claims, according to documents signed by Allen County deputy prosecutors Tom Chaille, David McClamrock and Ashley Fifield. 

“When there was no imminent or impending danger at the time of the attack, self-defense cannot be established by a showing that the victim had recently committed crimes against the defendant or others, even if the defendant was in a place where he had a right to be when the attack occurred,” their response says. 

Judge Fran Gull could rule on the request today.

Police were called June 23 to the area of Colerick Street and Central Drive, where Striverson, 27, was shot. Investigators said surveillance video shows Phifer waiting behind a home and then “shooting multiple times toward Striverson.”

Phifer, who was also shot, told police he and Striverson were at a home when Striverson confronted him about a woman and followed him outside, a probable cause alleges.

“(Striverson) shot me, so I shot back,” Phifer reportedly said.

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