Murder charge filed in death of unborn baby

Photo of Deyante Stephens provided by the Allen County Sheriff's Dept.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A third murder charge has been filed against a Fort Wayne man accused of fatally shooting two women, one of whom was pregnant.

Deyante A. Stephens had initially been charged with the deaths of 37-year-old Preonda M. Jones of Fort Wayne and 24-year-old Brianna R. Gould of Fort Wayne, who were found shot inside a home in the 1200 block of Lillie Street around 6:30 Saturday morning. Gould was 37-weeks pregnant and due to give birth to a baby boy any day.

The unborn baby’s death was ruled a homicide by the county coroner and Stephens was charged with murder on Thursday.

Police investigate a shooting in the 1200 block of Lillie Street on Saturday, January 20, 2017. One woman died and another was critically hurt.

The details of what led to the shooting are unclear. Trisha Gould, Brianna’s mother, said she believes drug addiction led her daughter to the Lillie Street home. Jones’ family said they believe she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Police said there were other people in the house at the time of the shooting. They were interviewed and investigators went door-to-door asking neighbors if they saw anything.

A probable cause affidavit revealed that someone called 911 and reported that someone was covered in blood inside the home and may have been dead. That person was later identified as Jones.

Later, police found Gould inside a bathtub in critical condition. She was taken to the hospital where she and her unborn baby, Legend James, died.

A woman could be heard screaming during the time of the shooting and someone reportedly heard Stephens voice, police detailed in the affidavit. He was not at the home when police arrived but they found him a short time later after someone called 911 to report that a man was trying to get into an apartment, the document said.

When police arrived, they reportedly found Stephens bleeding from his hand, with blood on his clothing. First he yelled at police, “Shoot me! Please shoot me! You know it’s going to happen! Shoot me!” and repeatedly said the officers “knew who he was,” according to the affidavit. Then Stephens reportedly asked the officers for a hug, the affidavit said.

Stephens reportedly told police about a gun in a bathtub and said he knew why officers were looking for him. He began to ask officers who “snitched” on him and called the officers “dead men.” He later threatened to kill officers before threatening to kill himself, the affidavit detailed.

Stephens was released from state prison in September after serving eight years for reckless homicide. He accidentally shot Christopher Ty-Ron Caldwell to death with a shotgun.

Stephens was set free midway through that sentence after a judge suspended the time, but he was caught by police a day later after he and a group held up a Fort Wayne bank. He served 37 months in federal prison for that 2013 ordeal.