Robert Littlejohn could spend the rest of his life in prison after jurors Thursday convicted him of murder in the stabbing death of a 21-year-old woman last year.
Prosecutors said Littlejohn, 56, chased and stabbed to death Kennedy Laramore on Sept. 7 as a fight raged among several people inside and outside a home at 1610 Roosevelt Ave. on the city's southeast side. He was the only one seen with a knife that night, they said, and Littlejohn – 6 feet, 9 inches tall and 255 pounds – intended to kill the much smaller Laramore, who was around 5 feet tall.
In Indiana, murder carries a penalty of 45 to 65 years behind bars, and state sentencing guidelines require those convicted to serve 75% of their sentence. That means Littlejohn will serve at least 33 3/4 years behind prison walls.
A sentencing hearing is set for April 17.
Defense attorney Robert Gevers said during a three-day trial in Allen Superior Court that Littlejohn was trying to extricate himself from the melee that surrounded him. Two knives were found at the home, witnesses testified, and Gevers said one of them was held by Laramore, who left the kitchen in the home with the weapon held above her head.
Littlejohn – who had minor injuries to his neck and chest area – was defending himself, said Gevers, who referred often during the trial to Laramore's death as tragic.
Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Tom Chaille said Littlejohn likely was drunk and singled out Laramore for an attack.
“Like a linebacker, he's chasing her across the yard,” Chaille said. “Ultimately, he makes the decision to thrust that knife into her, at least 5 inches.
“This is not a self-defense case in any way, shape or form. What's he do after he stabs her? He gets the heck out of there. He knows he just committed a crime. That's consciousness of guilt.”
The knife pierced Laramore's lung and heart.
Jurors sided with prosecutors Chaille and Kamia Shenoy and deliberated for about 31/2 hours before returning a verdict. Charging documents said witnesses described “several verbal and physical altercations” to police who arrived about 10:30 p.m.
One witness told investigators she heard Littlejohn make threatening statements before going to a garage to get a knife, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Jurors viewed surveillance video from the area, and it shows Littlejohn chasing Laramore, who is struck and falls to the ground.
Littlejohn drove with his sister from the scene after the stabbing and was stopped blocks away by police. Investigators said Littlejohn was angry and had blood on his clothes.
He said he was trying to defend his sister and admitted stabbing Laramore, according to court documents.
Gevers, in closing arguments, stressed that two knives were found – evidence of at least two combatants, he said.
Events that led to Laramore's death were confusing and moving quickly, he said.
“This is a mess, but it's not a murder,” Gevers said. “He's trying to defend his sister, his home, his family. And then this tragedy occurs.”