Man pleads guilty in fatal shooting of two brothers

2014-05-15T18:07:00Z 2014-08-02T15:01:47Z Man pleads guilty in fatal shooting of two brothersElvia Malagon elvia.malagon@nwi.com, (219) 662-5331 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | An 18-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to fatally shooting one of two Gary brothers less than a mile from their home in 2013, according to court records. 

Johnte Crawford faced two counts of murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit criminal gang activity. Speaking softly in Lake County Criminal Court, Crawford pleaded guilty in the death of Shaqwone Ham and to armed robbery. 

Crawford and Donnell D. Wilson, 17, of Gary, are accused of robbing someone at gunpoint before the double homicide.

A man told police he was walking about 3:40 p.m. March 17, 2013, in the 2500 block of West 15th Avenue in Gary when Wilson and Crawford approached him and demanded the man hand over his headphones, cellphone and the clothes he was wearing. 

Wilson and Crawford pointed guns at the man while they took his belongings, according to an affidavit.

After the incident, two witnesses told police Wilson and Crawford continued walking toward the 2500 block of West 13th Avenue where they exchanged words with Charles Wood and Ham before shooting at the brothers, according to the affidavit. 

Wilson shot Wood in the head, according to the arrest affidavit. Wood, 18, of Gary, died March 18, 2013, after he was removed from life support at Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus. 

Crawford admitted Thursday in court to shooting Ham as he tried to run away. Ham, 19, of Gary, was found shot to death in the bushes of a home in the 2500 block of West 13th Avenue, police said.

The shooting happened less than a mile away from where the brothers lived.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will dismiss one count of murder, conspiracy to commit criminal gang activity and criminal gang sentencing enhancement.

Crawford, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, will be sentenced July 11. He could face 45 to 65 years in prison. 

Wilson was scheduled to stand trial Monday. His trial was rescheduled this week to June 30. 

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