CROWN POINT | A 24-year-old Cedar Lake man pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder and arson in last summer's fatal stabbing of a 32-year-old neighbor before setting fire to the man's house.
Anthony LaPorta also pleaded guilty to sexual battery in connection with an assault on a 15-year-old girl in a separate incident a month before the murder.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell accepted a plea agreement in which LaPorta admitted guilt in both incidents, agreeing to serve 62 years for murdering his next-door neighbor, Adam Giordano, 32, and 18 years for setting fire to Giordano's house. A two-year sentence for sexual battery was ordered to be served concurrently with the murder and arson charges.
All remaining charges, including burglary, sexual misconduct with a minor and a life without parole enhancement, were dismissed.
Court documents obtained at the time indicate police were called July 11 to the fire and discovered Giordano's body in the living room of his home in the 14700 block of Cline Avenue in Cedar Lake.
Plea documents state LaPorta admitted to confronting Giordano during the burglary and stabbing the man, who tried to escape. LaPorta admitted to then pulling Giordano back in the home, stabbing him repeatedly.
LaPorta continued to burglarize the home before using a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner as an accelerant to set the house on fire, plea documents state.
In a separate incident, LaPorta also admitted to beginning to have sexual intercourse with a minor girl in the bedroom of a friend's Cedar Lake home the month previous to Giordano's murder.
Sentencing was set for April 26.