Two people charged for roles in Morgantown shooting

MORGANTOWN — Two people are facing criminal charges following a shooting last week in Morgantown.

Nicholas Robert Saunders, 19, of Elizabethtown, was charged by prosecutors Friday with attempted murder, a Level 1 felony; aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony; and two counts of pointing a firearm at another, a Level 6 felony.

Miranda D. Lawson, 19, of Morgantown, was charged with false informing, a misdemeanor, in Johnson County Superior Court 3 on Friday.

At around 8:55 p.m. Aug. 7, the Johnson County Public Safety Communications Center received a call that a person — later identified as Jerry Jones, 38, of Morgantown — had been shot multiple times at a home on the 6700 block of S. County Road 800W and those involved had already left the scene.

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with officers from the Trafalgar Police Department and emergency medical service personnel, treated Jones at the scene. He was later transported to IU Methodist Hospital, where he remains in stable condition.

Back in Morgantown, deputies questioned witnesses and launched an investigation that led them to different locations around central Indiana, Sheriff Duane Burgess said.

A witness told police that they were unloading a vehicle with the man when a dark blue vehicle drove by the home on three occasions honking and yelling. During the last occasion, the vehicle pulled into the driveway and two people, Saunders and Lawson, exited the car, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Saunders reportedly said “I got a gun” before opening fire at the witness and the man. Saunders and Lawson then fled the scene, the affidavit says.

Deputies later received information that Lawson was at a home on the 5100 block of E. Mahalasville Road in Morgan County after her car broke down and obtained a search warrant to search the home. They later found Lawson inside the residence, and a witness told police that both Saunders and Lawson were both there at one point after the shooting. Saunders had appeared to be flustered and shaken but did not provide any information as to why, the affidavit said.

When deputies spoke with Lawson, she said she had not left the home all night, and said had been previously been in a relationship with both Saunders and the man, the affidavit says.

Later Monday, deputies located Saunders, who was formerly of Morgantown, at his current home in Elizabethtown and served a warrant at the residence. Later, Lawson told told detectives that she had been at the Morgantown home to obtain her property when the shooting began. While there, Lawson and a witness had a verbal altercation while the man was holding a bag of her property, the affidavit says.

Lawson said the man eventually became involved and approached them. She told deputies that she heard gunshots but did not see any guns or weapons on anyone involved. Lawson said that she saw the man and the witness fall to the ground, so she and Saunders fled in her car, according to the affidavit.

Detectives tried to get consent to search Lawson’s phone to corroborate what she said, but she was unable to recall her phone passcode, the affidavit said.

Back in Elizabethtown, detectives spoke with Saunders, who initially said he did not have any guns and was not involved in a shooting. Once he was informed he was being detained in connection with an attempted murder, he began pounding his head against a window in a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, causing the window to spider crack and nearly shatter. He was then removed from the vehicle, according to the affidavit.

Once he calmed down, Saunders told deputies that he had driven Lawson to the Morgantown residence because she wanted to fight one of the witnesses. Saunders said he was only in the car with Lawson because she had agreed to provide him transportation for a gun sale in exchange for being with her, according to the affidavit.

Once at the home, Saunders said a verbal altercation between Lawson and the witness began. Saunders said he saw the man move toward him as if he had a knife in his shirt. Saunders then told detectives he freaked out and shot the man multiple times with a pistol, the affidavit says.

No evidence of a knife was located, and none of the witnesses saw a knife, the affidavit said.

Saunders told detectives he had he had tossed the firearm and holster out of the vehicle along the 2900 block of S. Morgantown Road in Morgan County. Deputies, with the help of Lawson, went to the location, but were unable to find the gun at the location, as of the time when the affidavit was filed. They were able to find the holster though, the affidavit says.

Saunders was later taken to the Johnson County Jail. During a subsequent interview at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, he told detectives what type of pistol he had used and confirmed to detectives that the gun was photographed in one of his social media posts, according to the affidavit.

When detectives spoke with the man who was shot on Wednesday, he said that he had just approached Lawson and the witness while they were in a verbal altercation when Saunders pulled out a gun and pointed it at the witness. The man then approached Saunders telling him to put the gun away and that if he had it out, he should be prepared to use it.

As the man was 2- to -6 feet away from Saunders, he opened fire. The man said he had not previously seen Saunders prior the shooting, the affidavit says.

Saunders was previously charged in Brown County in January with possession of a firearm without a license, a misdemeanor, according to online court records.

Saunders remains at the Johnson County jail. Lawson’s bond information was not immediately available.