CROWN POINT | After six days of listening to testimony and evidence presentations, a jury on Tuesday found Jamal Lawshea not guilty of murder after deliberating for about an hour.
The 27-year-old Gary resident was being re-tried for the shooting death of Latarus Foster, 29, on Sept. 2, 2012, in his neighborhood: the 3300 block of Maryland Street in Gary. Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez declared a mistrial in August when that jury came back deadlocked.
Prosecution witnesses presented by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Woods included Lawshea’s girlfriend, forensic scientists, a pathologist from the coroner’s office and Gary police officials.
Defense attorney Thomas Vanes called two witnesses to the stand, including Lawshea’s friend, Jeremy Graham. The friend testified Tuesday morning that Lawshea arrived at his Gary home between 1:30 and 1:45 a.m. Sept. 2, 2012, the time that officials said Foster was killed.
Some surprises marked this trial. On Thursday, Foster’s mother, Antoinette Grace, came forward to testify she removed Foster’s wallet and keys from his back pocket after she found him shot in the front yard. This was one part of the prosecution’s case, that Lawshea needed money and stole the victim’s wallet.
Other surprises involved the crime scene investigation and control of evidence by the Gary Police Department. Detective Larry Robertson testified about how some evidence, including Foster’s cellphone, was lost by the Police Department.