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Dawan Warren

Other Indiana exonerations
On September 5, 1996, two youths, one carrying a handgun, robbed the N & W Federal Credit Union in New Haven, Indiana. Witnesses said they ran to a waiting car driven by a third youth.

On September 9, 1996, a similar robbery was reported at a Norwest Bank branch in Auburn, Indiana, about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne.

On September 16, 1996, New Haven police arrested 18-year-old Dawan Warren and his 17-year-old stepbrother, Damion McKissick, and charged them with the credit union robbery. They were arrested after they attempted to put down $1,200 in cash to buy a car. The car dealer became suspicious and called the Greater Fort Wayne Crime Stoppers. A third youth, who was a juvenile, was still being sought.

On October 20, 1996, McKissick and Warren were charged with the September 9 robbery of the bank branch in Auburn. The charges were filed after McKissick gave a statement implicating himself and Warren in the Auburn robbery. They also were charged with theft of a car used during the robbery.

In May 1997, McKissick pled guilty in Allen County Circuit Court to robbing the credit union. In November 1997, McKissick pled guilty in DeKalb County Circuit Court to robbing the branch bank in Auburn. He was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison, with an agreement that he would testify against Warren and serve six years of the sentence.

On August 10, 1998, Warren pled guilty to robbing the branch bank in Auburn as well as the car theft charge. All other charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

He was released on parole after serving nearly 5 years in prison. Several years later, on January 25, 2007, Warren was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of robbing the Tower Bank in Fort Wayne. He was accused of being one of three men who robbed the bank on January 23, 2007.

A witness had seen them leave and noted the make and license plate of the car. Within hours, police found the car and located Warren, as well as Dontrell Moore, in the home of Joseph Lewis. Officers found some of the money taken in the robbery as well as clothing that was the same as clothing worn by the robbers based on the bank surveillance video.

On October 3, 2009, a federal jury convicted Warren of federal robbery charges. Based upon his prior conviction for the Auburn bank branch heist, Warren was sentenced as a habitual offender. He was sentenced to 411 months—34 years and three months—in prison.

In December 2012, Warren, acting as his own lawyer, filed a post-conviction petition in Dekalb County challenging his 1998 conviction for the Auburn branch bank. He filed an affidavit from McKissick stating that he had falsely implicated Warren in the crime.

“I lied when I told detectives that Dawan Warren robbed this bank with me,” the affidavit said. “Dawan Warren did not have any involvement with the robbery, nor [did he] have knowledge of our intent to commit said robbery. In fact, Mr. Warren was not with us that day at all.”

McKissick added, “The person who actually was with me that day and committed the robbery with me was Mr. Duprece Jett. We were the only ones involved with the robbery.” The affidavit also said, “Duprece Jett and I decided that if we were ever arrested and charged for the robbery, we would say that Dawan Warren was the one who robbed the …bank.”

“Dawan and I were not getting along at the time,” McKissick said. “So out of pure vindictiveness and to help Duprece, I implicated Mr. Warren.”

The petition also contained an affidavit from Jett, admitting that he committed the robbery with McKissick. He described how he and McKissick went to a Walmart and bought vinyl gloves and black T-shirts as well as panty hose to use as masks.

Jett said they went to a strip mall around the corner from the bank and stole a car. They then drove to the bank, left the car running and went inside. Jett described how he stood inside the door, holding a pistol, and told the tellers to hand over money to McKissick. After McKissick got the money, they fled in the stolen car back to the strip mall where they jumped into McKissick’s car and fled.

Jett also said that he and McKissick agreed to implicate Warren. Jett had been recently released from a juvenile facility and “had a lot more to lose than Dawan.”

Warren said that from the outset he told his defense attorney that he was innocent. The defense attorney advised him to plead guilty because a jury would most likely believe McKissick’s testimony, Warren said. “Out of a sense of hopelessness,” Warren said he pled guilty.

On January 14, 2013, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office filed a response agreeing that the robbery and car theft convictions should be vacated. On April 5, 2013, the charges were dismissed.

Based on the dismissal, Warren was granted a new sentencing hearing in federal court. In October 2015, his federal sentence was reduced to 14 years. Ultimately, he was released.

In February 2020, after Indiana passed a law allowing for exonerated defendants to seek compensation, Warren filed a petition seeking compensation for four years and 10 months incarcerated for the DeKalb County case that had been dismissed.

In October 2020, however, Warren was sentenced to a year in federal prison for violating the terms of his supervised release on the federal conviction. He was subsequently released and in December 2021, he was sentenced to two more years in prison for a second violation of his supervised release conditions. Both violations were related to the use of illegal narcotics.

Consequently, Warren’s petition was denied under a provision of the state compensation law that prohibits compensation to those who are incarcerated.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 7/24/2022
Last Updated: 7/24/2022
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Additional Convictions:Theft
Reported Crime Date:1996
Sentence:6 years
Age at the date of reported crime:18
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No