Trial postponed in Seymour native’s murder

The trial of two Fort Wayne men accused of murder in the death of a Seymour native in January has been postponed.

Cleodis Lamont Collins Jr., 24, and Jamarius Arnez Turnage, 25, were originally scheduled to stand trial Monday in Monroe Circuit Court 5 in Bloomington, but that trial was canceled June 27. Collins also faces a criminal recklessness charge in the incident that led to the slaying of 21-year-old Skylar Maupin.

The trial date has not been reset but could be during a pretrial conference at 10:15 a.m. July 29. It’s unclear whether prosecutors and defense attorneys are seeking a new trial date or plea agreement.

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Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff presides over the case, while prosecutors Geoffrey J. Bradley and Erika Oliphant represent the state.

Collins is represented by public defender Stuart K. Baggerly, while Turnage is represented by public defender Joseph Lozano.

A call to Lozano’s office was not returned.

The two men face charges in the death of Maupin, who was murdered shortly after 9 p.m. Jan. 17 during a drug deal at an apartment in Bloomington, according to the probable cause affidavit signed by Detective Joshua Burnworth with the Bloomington Police Department.

Maupin, a 2016 graduate of Seymour High School, was shot after the two suspects drove to Bloomington to purchase a pound of marijuana from Seymour native Nicholas Booth at the apartment in the 2000 block of North Walnut Street, Burnworth wrote.

Police later learned Collins and Turnage never brought the $1,500 to $1,600 they had arranged to pay for the purchase and instead planned to rob Booth of the marijuana.

Maupin and three other men were in the living room near the front door of the apartment when Collins and Turnage arrived, according to court records.

Burnworth wrote Maupin had retrieved a gun from his bedroom and placed it on the coffee table shortly before the two suspects arrived because he claimed to have known them to rob and steal from people in the past.

Booth, Collins and Turnage went to a bedroom in the apartment for the purchase, and a physical altercation started between Booth and Collins.

Turnage began walking toward the front door when Booth yelled for Maupin to help.

The incident escalated, and Turnage pulled out a handgun and shot in Maupin’s direction twice, striking him in the torso, according to court records.

Booth was struck after he ran to the front window, and Collins fired the weapon toward the apartment after he attempted to retrieve his cellphone, police said.

Booth survived his injuries, and the other men in the apartment were not injured.

Collins was questioned by an Indiana University Police Department officer as he was found walking in the parking lot shortly after the shooting.

Collins told police he had no knowledge of any shots and was released. Turnage and Collins then left Bloomington together and were later arrested by officers with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department in Martinsville.

Police found a .45-caliber handgun in the floor of the vehicle, according to court records.

Police said Turnage admitted to his involvement in the incident but said he acted in self-defense because he was “in great fear” when he shot Maupin. But police said Turnage did not attempt to call 911 during the incident and even drove past at least one officer without asking for help as they fled.

Police also noted the two did not call to report the shooting despite having two working cellphones.

Collins denied the incident but later said he traveled with Turnage to purchase the marijuana and entered the apartment and Booth’s room, police said. He did not provide further information to police during the interview, according to court documents.