Jury selected in beating death trial

2014-03-03T19:25:00Z 2014-09-02T17:44:05Z Jury selected in beating death trialLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 03, 2014 7:25 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A jury was set Monday for the trial of a man charged with the December 2012 beating death of a Gary woman.

Ahkeem Shakur Scott-Manna, 19, of Gary, appeared in Lake Criminal Court accused of murder in the killing of Dorothy J. Griffin.

Griffin told police she let Scott-Manna into her apartment in the 1900 block of Fifth Avenue in Gary on Dec. 7, 2012, because she knew him, court records indicate. He had frequently walked her dog.

However, the probable cause affidavit states, Scott-Manna attacked Griffin, pushing her into a bedroom where he struck her in the face repeatedly with a closed fist. He allegedly jumped out of her bedroom window and was arrested 20 minutes later by Gary police.

Griffin identified Scott-Manna to emergency responders before being taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake campus in Merrillville for treatment of her injuries.

She died less than a week later, on Dec. 10, after several days on a ventilator.

During the attack, Griffin called 911, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Toth said before the potential jurors entered the court room.

That 911 call has Griffin and Scott-Manna talking with a police dispatcher, Toth said, who asked the recording be played as part of the prosecution’s case.

“It shows his presence at the scene and his intent,” Toth told Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell. “He says, ‘If she moves I’m going to break her face.’”

Prior to the jury pool entering the courtroom, Scott-Manna told Boswell he wants to withdraw a planned insanity plea, contrary to his defense attorney John Maksimovich’s advice.

“I’m not going to say I did something that I didn’t do,” Scott-Manna said.

The defendant also told the judge he had faked depression symptoms recently so he could be taken to a different area of the Lake County Jail and be groomed for the start of the trial.

Opening arguments and evidence presentations will begin Tuesday. Gary police officers and detectives, a pathologist with the Lake County coroner’s office and a staff with Methodist Hospitals’ medical records department will testify throughout the week.

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