The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 1:00 am

Demand for money cited in burglary

Police say suspects visited DeKalb home day earlier

JAMES D. WOLF JR. | The Journal Gazette

All four people who allegedly participated in a burglary that ended in deaths had visited the Auburn home the day before, that time “demanding money aggressively,” according to court documents.

One of the two survivors, Tabitha L. Johnson, 42, of Fort Wayne, sometimes stayed at the house in the 1600 block of Indiana 8, Indiana State Police Detective Andrew Mills wrote in the probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in DeKalb Superior Court.

Johnson and the other survivor, Shaun T. Kruse, 42, of Columbia City, were each charged with two counts of felony murder and one count of felony burglary in Sunday’s break-in in which two other alleged burglars were shot and killed by the homeowner.

Indiana law defines felony murder as a murder committed during or because of another felony happening, such as burglary or robbery.

The homeowner told state police that before the four showed up Saturday, Johnson had been texting him about needing $3,000 because “some bad people thought she had stolen it from them.” He added that Johnson had occasionally stayed in his home for the past 10 years.

After the four demanded money, the homeowner told them he only had $65. They took it and said he had to go to the bank to get the rest, threatening him. They left after he said his bank is closed Saturdays.

Kruse told police that the two who died from gunshot wounds Sunday – Dylan Scott Morefield, 22, of Churubusco, and Rameica Lasharon Moore, 36, of Fort Wayne – were the ones confronting the homeowner on Saturday. Kruse described Morefield as the aggressor, demanding money, court records state.

Later Saturday, the four talked about returning to the home to get more money and to take the homeowner’s cars and some belongings, Kruse told police. He said Morefield repeatedly talked on the drive there about being “gangster.”

About 6 a.m. Sunday, the homeowner woke to his dog barking and found three people in his living room. He recognized Johnson and Morefield but not the woman with them. Police later found signs of forced entry to the house’s back door.

Kruse told police that he declined to go in, and the other three told him to wait in the driver’s seat.

The homeowner said that inside the house, Morefield and the woman he didn’t know, later identified as Moore, put guns to his head. They were stealing his belongings and demanded money, forcing him to write a check for $500.

In the darkness, the homeowner was able to get his shotgun from next to the couch. He encountered Morefield in the kitchen and shot him twice, then shot Moore, according to court documents.

He then escorted Johnson out to the car and held the shotgun on her and Kruse, telling Kruse to call 911. The people burglarizing the house had smashed the homeowner’s house phone and taken his cellphones, court records said.

Johnson told police that she’d been at the home both days trying to retrieve her things.

The two were scheduled for their initial hearings Tuesday. 

No charges have been announced against the homeowner, and it’s possible he’s protected under Indiana’s law known as the Castle Doctrine. Under this law, someone is justified in using force against another when it’s necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person using the force or a third person, such as a family member.

However, someone cannot use force against a person who’s simply committing a crime, escaping from a crime or has communicated that they’re withdrawing from their aggressive behavior.

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