It was a melee, defense attorney Robert Gevers said.
Shoes – detritus from an earlier fracas – were strewn outside a home at 1610 Roosevelt Ave. Police called to the scene about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 7 found those, a broken pair of sunglasses and two knives.
Kennedy Laramore was stabbed during the fight and clung to life nearby. The 21-year-old later died at Lutheran Hospital.
“Just because Kennedy Laramore is dead doesn't mean that Mr. Robert Littlejohn is a murderer,” Gevers said in court Tuesday, the first day of Littlejohn's trial.
That's exactly what it means, prosecutors argued.
Littlejohn, 56 – 6-feet, 9-inches tall and 255 pounds – chased the diminutive Laramore, stabbing her with a knife as she tried to run away, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Kamia Shenoy told jurors. The weapon cut through the woman's ribs and pierced her lungs and heart, Shenoy said.
Witnesses described “several verbal and physical altercations” that started inside the home and spilled outside, according to documents charging Littlejohn with murder. One woman said she heard Littlejohn say, “Let's go, don't make me bust these bitches” before going to a garage to get a knife, a probable cause affidavit alleges.
Keonna Suttle, his step-granddaughter, testified Tuesday she saw Littlejohn with a knife before Laramore was stabbed.
“Everybody was just fighting,” she said.
Littlejohn was the only male at the home that night, Suttle said.
Surveillance footage shown to jurors and referenced in the affidavit reportedly shows “one tall male who is believed to be the defendant” chasing Laramore, who is struck and falls to the ground. Laramore gets up and runs to a nearby car, but collapses in the street.
Police stopped a car after the stabbing and found Littlejohn and his sister inside. He was “angry and covered in bloodstains,” Shenoy said.
A jailer told investigators Littlejohn confessed to the stabbing after he was arrested.
“A couple people had knives and were coming after my sister,” Littlejohn said, according to Cpl. Zachary Stefanski, who is quoted in the affidavit. “I was trying to defend her. I grabbed a blade. I poked the girl, but I didn't know she was gonna die.”
In Indiana, prosecutors must prove defendants charged with murder knowingly or intentionally killed another person.
Gevers, in opening statements, urged jurors to carefully weigh evidence such as the discovery of two knives. He promised the “entire picture” of events Sept. 7 would come out at trial and witness testimony “won't be quite so cut and dry as Ms. Shenoy presented it.”
“Listen carefully,” he said.
The trial is scheduled to end Friday, and Littlejohn faces a prison sentence of up to 65 years if he is convicted.