ANDERSON, Ind. —
Adam Layne was found not guilty of murder in the stabbing death of a 23-year-old Anderson man.
Layne, 27, gasped and began to cry Thursday as Judge David Happe read the jury's verdict to a charge of murder that has kept Layne incarcerated for more than eight months. Layne's family, many sobbing uncontrollably before the jury even entered Court 4 at the Madison County Government Center, joined him in a relieved and exuberant reaction.
On Dec. 9, 2012, Layne stabbed Willie Rumph, 23, of Anderson, in self-defense during an argument over money at Layne’s home in the 1600 block of Lincoln Street. Rumph had forced his way into the home that evening and demanded drug money owed him by a member of Layne's family.
After a heated discourse between Rumph, Layne and his ex-fiance Sara Smith, Layne stabbed Rumph with a kitchen knife on the house's porch area. Layne and Smith, who was pregnant with Layne's child, were watching TV when they heard Rumph rap on a window. Layne and defense attorney Jimmy McDole maintained for months that Layne acted in self-defense to protect himself and his family.
A jury of six men and six women agreed after sitting through six days of testimony from witnesses and experts. It took them about two and a half hours to come to a conclusion.
During post-trial conferences, several jurors said they might have convicted Layne of a lesser charge, but following the principle of reasonable doubt, couldn't justify a charge of murder.
"This guy was put in a bad situation," said one juror. "I'm not sure any of us wouldn't have done the same."
Layne was not available for immediate comment due to police procedures, but family members said they were euphoric after hearing the verdict.