The father of a Michigan City girl shot and killed in 2011 demanded a trial, and now it appears he's getting one.
That is despite the prosecution's key witness recanting what he told investigators.
Kalvon Hawkins, father of NeKeisha Hodges-Hawkins, a 17-year-old shot and killed at a party, said going to trial is worth the risk of acquittal considering what little time behind bars the alleged perpetrator was going to receive under a plea agreement.
"So why not take my chances?" Hawkins said.
The June 15 plea agreement called for one year in jail, five years on work release and two years on probation. It was rejected Thursday by LaPorte Superior Court 1 Judge Michael Bergerson. The plea would have convicted Charles Gerron, 21, of Class C felony criminal recklessness for firing a gun.
He would not have been held responsible for Hodges-Hawkins' death, because the defense claimed there was no proof of who actually fired the gun.
Now, Gerron is potentially facing a 45- to 65-year sentence for murder in a trial scheduled for Sept. 18.
Gerron was arrested in December, several weeks after Hawkins demanded the case be reopened because of new evidence.
LaPorte County Prosecutor John Espar told the court a "renewed and reinvigorated" investigation followed and produced new witness testimony that led to Gerron's arrest.
Since then, Espar said the witness has fully recanted, claiming "I said the things I said, but I didn't see the things I said I saw."
Espar did not give an explanation for the witness testimony changing and would not comment because the case remains undecided.
According to police, Hodges-Hawkins was struck with a bullet after two separate disturbances broke out at a friend's 16th birthday party attended by more than 100 people at Memorial Park. Hodges-Hawkins had just graduated from Michigan City High School.
Defense attorney Scott King said more than one gun was fired and no gun has surfaced that matches the caliber of the bullet. Without a key witness, King wouldn't speculate how that might impact the outcome of a trial.