Thomas trial date moved

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Sept. 22—ELKHART—A man charged with a Feb. 5 shooting was given a continuation of his trial in Elkhart County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Darius Thomas, 26, Middlebury, is charged with the murder of Shamar Barnes in Elkhart. After reviewing security videos as part of the investigation, detectives believed Thomas had parked a car at a Marathon gas station, 1226 S. Main St., while a passenger in the back seat got out and entered the store, according to details in the affidavit. about the probable cause in the case.

The driver, reportedly Thomas, begins to get out of the car, but then ducks back in as Barnes crosses the gas station parking lot. According to the footage, the driver peeked out of the car, aimed a pistol and fired three shots.

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Barnes is then seen holding his chest before running away, and the car also flees with the passenger in the back seat still in the store, the affidavit says. Police responded to the call around 4:25 p.m. and found Barnes with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead in hospital just before 5 p.m

Thomas had been out of prison for about nine months after serving a time in a Gosen robbery case when the incident took place. Thomas pleaded guilty to an armed robbery that occurred on North Main Street in May 2012 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in November 2012.

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Another teen was also convicted for his role in that robbery. Thomas was 17 at the time. Thomas was released on probation in 2016 and returned to prison after violating probation and after serving the remainder of his sentence, he was released in May 2020.

Investigators tracked the car on the surveillance video and found it parked behind a house in South Bend. According to the affidavit, the owner of the vehicles told investigators that Thomas had driven the car with him and borrowed the car about an hour and a half before the shooting. According to the owner’s statement in the affidavit, Thomas called him later and told him where the car was parked and that the keys were in a nearby mailbox. Thomas was also identified in footage from the surveillance video, bullet casings were found in the car and keys were found in the identified mailbox, the affidavit said.

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During Thursday’s court hearing, Thomas’ attorney Christopher Crawford pleaded for continuation of the trial, which was scheduled for October 17. Judge Michael Christofeno agreed, in part due to the fact that another trial is scheduled for the same day. As a result, Thomas’s jury trial was moved to April 3, with a status conference on March 9.

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