The Journal Gazette
Saturday, June 12, 2021 1:00 am

Jury finds man guilty of murder

Verdict in 2020 killing, robbery returned after 9 hours

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

After nearly nine hours of deliberation, Jamesley Paul was convicted of murder and other charges about 1 a.m. Friday in Allen Superior Court.

The charges included two counts of felony murder and robbery with an additional charge of using a firearm to commit an offense. He was found not guilty of a second murder charge.

Sentencing for the 24-year-old man has been scheduled for late July.

Paul, who appeared in court with two Creole translators, was one of three men who went to the home of Meng Kem at 2405 Barnhart Drive just after midnight Feb. 26, 2020, allegedly to buy marijuana, according to court records. Two people were killed.

Meng Kem, 28, who was guarding a gold box filled with fentanyl pills, marijuana, marijuana vape cartridges and $1,500 in cash, survived with a shot to the neck that went through his arm and hand, injuries that make it difficult to walk and use his right arm.

Paul was convicted of shooting Mon Ong, 21, who was pronounced dead at the scene with one shot to the chest. He was found not guilty in the shooting death of Brooke Wendel, 23, Kem's girlfriend, who died shortly after at a hospital.

Two other men were charged in the shooting deaths.

Kyaw Htet Hlang, 24, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder and robbery and was sentenced last year to 50 years in prison.

Kerwins Louis, 21, will face a jury in September, charged with two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and using a firearm to commit a crime.

In closing statements Thursday afternoon, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Tom Chaille and defense attorney Nicholas Adams presented opposing narratives when it came to Paul's involvement in the robbery and the shootings.

In a videotaped statement shown in court, Paul admitted he was at the crime scene but said he “didn't do anything.”

Chaille said Paul shot Ong in the chest as the gun was passed around during a chaotic scene in which money and drugs were taken.

“(The defendants) didn't leave until they were dead or left for dead,” Chaille said. “All for $1,500, a couple of vape cartridges and a little bit of dope.”

Paul, who had known Ong since middle school, was part of the crime, a person who made choices and should be held accountable, Chaille told the jury.

Paul also “acted in concert,” an important detail in Indiana law that indicates guilt.

“You go in to commit robbery, and your buddy brings a gun. Guess what? You are a knowing, willing participant,” Chaille said.

Felony murder is defined as committing a crime – such as a robbery – in which a person is murdered.

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