CROWN POINT | Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced Edgar Singleton, 62, to 50 years in prison Friday for the murder of East Chicago resident Montrell Moss, 23, in a road-rage dispute last summer.
A former Cook County corrections officer, Singleton, of Chicago, was convicted Feb. 27 by a jury of shooting the 23-year-old with his Glock 9 mm service weapon on Aug. 8 near Horseshoe Casino. Singleton faced a sentence of 45 to 60 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.
The dispute started when Singleton cut off Moss’ car twice on northbound Indianapolis Boulevard. The shooting took place after Moss called Singleton a profanity and threw a Burger King cup of cola at Singleton’s gold minivan.
Two of Singleton’s longtime friends and fellow church members spoke on his behalf prior to sentencing, calling him “a really honorable man” and “a servant.” Both asked Vasquez to sentence Singleton to the minimum of 45 years.
Moss’ cousin, Karen Smith, of Matteson, spoke about the impact of the young man’s death on his family.
“There are not enough tears for the years you are receiving,” Smith said to Singleton. On behalf of the family, Smith asked Vasquez to sentence the man to the full 60 years in prison.
Singleton’s defense attorney, Phillip King, called Singleton’s act “a tragic and unfortunate sequence of events.” King said a 45-year sentence would be appropriate, because his client had no previous criminal record, had just turned 62 and wouldn’t be eligible for parole until age 84.
In asking for the maximum sentence, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Woods cited the trust that the public puts in law enforcement officials.
“It’s expected of him not to engage in criminal activity. More was expected of Edgar Singleton than this,” Woods said. “He betrayed (the public’s) trust in the worst possible way.”
Singleton spoke for about 10 minutes prior to the sentencing, quoting a number of biblical verses and admitting he feels guilt and remorse for killing Moss.
“If there were a death sentence, I would welcome it with open arms. That’s because of the guilt and the fear (of the Lord),” Singleton said to Vasquez. “I’ll stand here and take whatever judgment you give me.”
In sentencing Singleton to a 50-year prison term, Vasquez said he took into account the support of Singleton’s friends and the fact Singleton had no criminal history.
However, throwing a Burger King cup “is simply not a provocation for shooting someone else,” the judge said. “In 20 years, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Singleton was immediately remanded to the Indiana Department of Correction with his prison placement to be determined.
Following sentencing, Moss’ mother, Adrienne Moss of East Chicago, said 50 years wasn’t an adequate term for what Singleton did.
“There are not enough years for all the tears I shed for my boy,” she said.