CROWN POINT | An East Chicago man facing a murder charge is being moved into isolation after a witness in the case reported receiving death threats.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Clarence Murray granted a motion Wednesday filed by prosecutors to move James L. Taylor, 24, to isolation in the Lake County Jail. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Judith Massa said in court that a witness in the case reported to police he had received at least two death threats.
Massa said a list of witnesses in the case also is reportedly circulating around East Chicago, which is making many witnesses concerned for their safety.
Defense attorney Stephen Scheele said Taylor is not receiving or sending any mail from jail, and told the court a review of Taylor's phone calls would show that his client is not behind the threats.
Massa argued the threats could be being disseminated by other inmates housed at the Lake County Jail who interact with Taylor and are released later.
Taylor is facing charges of murder, battery, criminal gang activity and being an habitual offender.
He is accused of shooting Alex Lenore on April 24, 2013, in the 4900 block of Baring Avenue in East Chicago, police said. Lenore died the next day from gunshot wounds to his head and lower chest, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
According to the affidavit, Taylor told witnesses before the shooting he was angry Lenore took him to a rival gang's territory in East Chicago knowing Taylor has gang-related tattoos on his face.
Other witnesses told police that Taylor was involved in a shooting that injured Lenore's friend just days before the fatal shooting, according to the affidavit. Another witness told detectives that Taylor said he attended Lenore's funeral to see if anyone suspected him of being involved in the death.
Taylor is scheduled to stand trial July 21.