The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 23, 2021 1:00 am

Man given 146 years for murder

22-year-old 2nd to be sentenced in slayings of 2

JIM CHAPMAN | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man convicted of killing a man and woman in a northeast-side home last year will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull on Friday sentenced Kerwins Louis, 22, to 146 years in prison.

A jury last month found Louis guilty of two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder and one count of robbery in the February 2020 shooting deaths of Mon Ong, 21, and Brooke Wendel, 23, at 2405 Barnhart Ave., near East State and Coliseum boulevards.

Meng Kem, then 27, was shot in the neck and the head but survived. He told police men came to rob him of his money, which he estimated to be about $1,500.

Louis is the third person to be sent to prison in the case. In July, Gull sentenced Jamesley Paul, 24, to 146 years. He was convicted of murder, felony murder and robbery. The jury found him guilty in Ong's death but not guilty in Wendel's death.

Kyaw Htet Hlang, 24, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of felony murder and one count of attempted robbery. He was sentenced to 50 years. Felony murder is defined by state law as a murder committed in the act of another felony, such as robbery.

Indiana guidelines require those convicted to serve at least 75% of their prison sentences. For Louis and Paul, that is 109 years. Hlang has to serve at least 371/2 years.

Meng told police he saw Hlang “shoot his girl” and that he had grown up with Hlang. He described the two other men and gave a possible address for one of the men, according to court documents.

Fort Wayne Police Department Officer Jean Gigli stopped a vehicle at Kenwood Avenue and Carew Street two hours after the shooting. The officer smelled burnt marijuana and saw narcotics and cash in the back seat passenger door. Paul and Louis were both in the car, though they weren't driving, court records said.

Shortly before 8 a.m., Hlang was pulled over on North Anthony Boulevard near Coliseum Boulevard. At first he wouldn't provide identification, but police were able to identify him from his tattoos, court records said.

In the car, a red Nissan Juke, police also discovered a semi-automatic pistol with a magazine in it and a slide locked to the rear “as if it had been run dry,” records said.

Detectives Liza Anglin and Brian Martin interviewed Hlang. He told Anglin there were other people with him when the shootings occurred and that he was the last person to leave the house. Hlang said he was supposed to go back to the home and pick up the gun in the morning. The gun was dropped between houses, one of which was his friend's. Then, he said, he was supposed to “get rid of it.”

Martin asked him if the two accomplices received drugs and money when they robbed and shot the victims. Hlang told him the two others “got all the dope and money and he didn't get (expletive).”

Martin and Detective Scott Tegtmeyer interviewed Louis, who at first denied involvement in the shooting. He said Paul was his cousin.

Louis then said the three of them went to the Barnhart home to get some “tree,” another name for marijuana. When asked if he could remember who started shooting, Louis said he couldn't remember, records said.

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