A man has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a deadly shooting that sent shoppers fleeing for safety inside a northern Indiana shopping mall.
Dazhon Howard’s guilty plea on Wednesday came after his March trial ended with a judge declaring a mistrial after jurors said they were deadlocked, the South Bend Tribune reported.
Rather than potentially stand trial a second time, Howard, 23, agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for St. Joseph County prosecutors dismissing a murder charge he faced.
Under his plea agreement, Howard will agree to a minimum sentence of 10 years of executed jail time, though prosecutors can argue for additional time beyond that. His sentencing is set for June 7.
Howard argued during his trial that he shot Delaney Crosby in self-defense in September 2020 after the two got into an altercation at Mishawaka’s University Park Mall. The shooting sent shoppers fleeing for safety at the mall just east of South Bend.
Both men were with groups of people who engaged in an extended argument as they walked through the mall before video showed Howard pull a gun from his backpack and shoot Crosby five times.
Prosecutors argued Crosby was challenging Howard to a fist fight, not threatening to kill him, and that Crosby was walking away from Howard at the time of the shooting.