6 charged in murder, robbery of Gary man

2013-05-16T19:00:00Z 2014-02-26T19:21:07Z 6 charged in murder, robbery of Gary manSusan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | Prosecutors have charged six individuals with murder, robbery and burglary in connection with the homicide of a 61-year-old Gary man nearly three years ago.

Coroner's investigators were called Aug. 16, 2010, to the 1300 block of Johnson Street, where the body Franklin Simmons was found in the basement of the home.

Simmons died of multiple gunshot wounds to the body, according to the coroner's report.

Charged with murder, murder in the perpetration of a robbery, robbery, burglary and attempted burglary were Jamell Brooks Jr., 22; Antoine Jamell Gates, 36; Robert Johnson III, 23; Rashaad McNair, 24; Dontaye Singletary, 21; and Diana Veal, 22, all of Gary.

According to a probable cause affidavit, police were called to Simmons' home about 9:15 a.m. by a man arriving to play cards with Simmons and other friends.

Simmons was found shot multiple times at the bottom of the basement staircase. A rear outer door appeared to have been pried open, and the deadbolt remained in a locked position.

In March 2011, in reviewing photographs connected with the case, police came into possession of a photograph of Veal, who was known to police.

Brooks later admitted he and Veal, aka Diana Smith, McNair, Singletary and Johnson were involved in the crime, court records state.

Simmons, who had just moved into the house, was shot and killed when he discovered several of the men had entered the house, court records state.

Veal admitted to telling the men about the house in which Simmons lived, calling it a "gambling house" where men would play lottery and poker and had money, court records state.

The investigation revealed Simmons was killed after an earlier homicide and failed robbery at Champ's Liquors in the 1700 block of Grant Street in which McNair is alleged to have been involved.

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