Man found NOT GUILTY in shooting that left 1 dead, wounded another
LAPORTE — A LaPorte Circuit Court jury this week acquitted a Chesterton man of murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery in a 2020 shooting in the city of LaPorte. Davion L. Jones, 23, testified during his three-day trial that he acted in self-defense when she fatally shot Tyler Terusiak and wounded Stanley Henderson on March, 28, 2020, in the 1400 block of Jefferson Avenue, attorney John Cantrell said. According to court records, Jones immediately drove himself to the LaPorte County Sheriff's Department, told police his gun was in his burgundy-colored Pontiac Grand Am and gave a statement. Jones initially was not aware Terusiak and Henderson had been shot, records stated.
Cantrell said he wanted to take the case to trial.
"My client acted in self-defense and immediately went to the police station and told the cops what happened," he said. "This is an example of how jurors respected a person's right to defend themselves."
LaPorte County Prosecutor John Lake said the defense maintained Henderson pointed a gun at Jones, but the state presented an independent witness who testified Henderson did not have a gun. That witness was across the street looking out from an upstairs window, and the jurors ultimately decided they didn't believe the witness's testimony, he said.
In addition, witnesses at the scene were not initially cooperative with police, Lake said.
"This was a case that came down to credibility of the witnesses and who you believed," he said. The state had no reason to disbelieve the witness who said Henderson didn't have a gun, so Lake took the case to trial and allowed the jury to decide, he said.
"My job is not to win," Lake said. "It's to present the evidence we have."
Jurors also considered a reckless homicide charge against Jones at the defense's request, but they did not return a verdict on that count, Lake said.
The case was tragic no matter the outcome, because Terusiak lost his life due to the use of a gun, he said.
According to court records, Jones told police he drove with his brother to pick up his brother's girlfriend's daughter from 1403 Jefferson Ave., because a group of people at the residence across the street "were trying to start a fight with her" and threatening her.
When they pulled up, Jones' brother recognized one of the men across the street and got out to talk him. A group of men then surrounded the brother and started yelling at him, court records said. Jones told police one of the men approached the passenger side of his vehicle while reaching into the front pocket of a sweatshirt. The man said something like, "We got something for you," and Jones could make out the outline of a gun in the man's front pocket, records state.
Jones said the man pointed a small black handgun at him, and he fired several shots in the man's direction. Everyone ran off after he fired the shots, and he got back into his car and drove to the Sheriff's Department, records state.
Police recovered a .40-caliber Glock handgun with a 50-round drug magazine and four spent .40-caliber shell casings from Jones' car, records say.