Trial date set back for teen accused of murder

May 18, 2019

MICHIGAN CITY — The teen accused of fatally shooting 18-year-old Dareon Brown in December was granted a continuance of his jury trial in La Porte Superior Court 1 on Thursday.

Hakim Zamir Lamar Qualls’ trial was moved from June 10 to Sept. 23.

And his final pretrial conference – the last date by which he is allowed to enter a plea agreement to any charge less than murder – is now set for Aug. 22, barring any additional continuance.

Qualls, who recently spent his 17th birthday in lockup at the La Porte County Jail, is charged with one count of murder and a class A misdemeanor count of dangerous possession of a firearm.

Michigan City Police say Qualls fired three shots at Brown as Brown stood outside a friend’s home in the 200 block of Karwick Road on Dec. 18, 2018.

Brown’s girlfriend, who was present at the time of the shooting, reportedly told police Qualls and Brown were known not to be friends. However, she said, no argument occurred at the scene to provoke the shooting.

Qualls indicated via formal notice in February that he intends to claim the shooting occurred in self-defense.

He remains incarcerated on a cash-only bond of $1 million pending resolution of his case.

A month after Brown was killed, his 16-year-old brother, Javan Brown, was arrested on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Justin Garner.

Garner died of a single gunshot wound to the back of his head while seated in the driver’s seat of his car in the 200 block of Jackson Street on Jan. 16.

During a probable cause hearing the next morning, police told the judge they were concerned the second shooting may have been retaliation for the first.

Officers said Javan Brown admitted to having been seated behind Garner in the vehicle.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with murder and dangerous possession of a firearm, and is scheduled to face a jury in the case beginning Aug. 19.

Like Qualls, Javan Brown is incarcerated on a cash-only bond of $1 million.

Both boys have been charged as adults, and could face up to 66 years in prison if convicted.

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