FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A Fort Wayne man has been found guilty of fatally shooting a man outside the Texas Roadhouse restaurant last August.
Just after 5 p.m. Thursday, an Allen Superior Court jury found 29-year-old Andrew Cassaday guilty of murder and carrying a handgun without a license in the Aug. 14, 2016, shooting death of 28-year old Jeffrey Lute outside of Texas Roadhouse on Washington Center Road.
According to witness testimony, Lute and several men were part of the Steel Horse Rebels motorcycle club, but he broke ties with the group after it changed from a charitable organization to a gang.
Outside of the popular chain restaurant that mid-August night, though, a physical altercation started between Lute’s group and current members of the motorcycle club. Several witnesses described the altercation throughout the trial. During the altercation Lute pulled out a handgun and shot a man, who was a friend of Cassaday, in the leg. He then ran off around the restaurant.
Cassaday maintained during the trial that after he saw Lute fire, he went to his car to get his gun. He told the jury he thought police would be there soon and wanted to have his gun in case he needed to defend himself.
Cassaday told the jury he started walking to the front door of the restaurant, not toward his friends, because he thought it would be safer in the light. Then, a few seconds later, Cassaday testified that he saw Lute come around the corner of the building, and he shot.
Cassaday and Lute’s families both declined to comment on the verdict. Cassaday’s attorney, Seth Tipton, reacted to the verdict by simply saying, “it’s a bummer.”
A jury deliberated for just under five hours Thursday before reaching a verdict. Cassaday could face 45 to 65 years for the murder charge and up to 20 years for unlawful use of a firearm. Cassaday is scheduled to appear in court for a sentencing hearing on May 26.