Convicted murderer sentenced for 2020 Cassopolis armed robbery

Published 6:00 am Saturday, February 4, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A man in prison in Indiana for murder was sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court for the armed robbery incident that just preceded the South Bend area murder back in 2020. 

Oluwatompie Makanjuola, 22, of Ohio, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to 70 months to 30 years in prison with credit for 450 days served. He must pay $758 in fines and costs. The sentence is concurrent with the Indiana sentence and he can serve the prison sentence in any penal institution. 

The Michigan offense occurred March 4, 2020 at a residence on Day Lake Road in Cassopolis where he and three others robbed people to steal marijuana and sell it in Indiana. They then traveled to South Bend where they murdered a person there. He is serving a 45 year sentence there and has an earliest release date of 2054. 

“Over 1,000 years ago, sage and wise words were penned that if evil men entice you, don’t go along with them, do not set food on their path,” Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said. “This defendant certainly did join up with a gang of thieves, robbers and murderers, he was not an innocent bystander.” 

“On this fateful day, they held a gun to a woman’s head, robbed the house, killed a dog and the same day went to South Bend to kill another human being,” he added. “This is a terrible waste of a life of a man who still does have much promise, but he has to pay the price for his actions.” 

Defense attorney Lanny Fisher noted that his client had no prior convictions, had graduated from high school and was a student at Ohio State University when this happened. “He comes from a very good family, to say this is out of character is an understatement,” he said. “We’re judging him by the absolute worst day of his life.” 

“I want to first apologize to you and your community as well as the victim,” the defendant said. “This does not adequately depict my character. I was young at the tie and misguided into a very poor situation where everyone was making poor decisions.” 

“You had a year of college and was a standout athlete and active in the community, you volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, you had a good upbringing,” Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “Where you were in life to where you are now are mile apart. You would have been better to follow your parents’ path.” 

The judge said “talk is cheap” that this was not in the defendant’s character. “You could have extricated yourself, but you continued to go forward with individuals and commit crimes,” he said. “Talk is cheap, it’s easy to say this is not your character. I hope this is not your character in the future, you will have a lot of time to think about it.”