Murder trial recessed due to snow

2014-03-12T20:30:00Z 2014-03-18T19:43:10Z Murder trial recessed due to snowLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
March 12, 2014 8:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A murder trial against a Gary man was delayed a day Wednesday after a juror couldn't make it to court because of snow.

Prosecutors are set to continue presenting their case against Jamal Lawshea, 26, starting at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The missing juror presented a quandary for Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez.

Prior to Tuesday’s presentation of evidence by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Woods, one of the two alternate jurors replaced a regular juror.

If another regular juror had to be replaced, it would create a jury of 11. Lawshea’s defense attorney, Thomas Vanes, said his client would not accept an 11-member jury.

That possibility could have caused a second mistrial in this case, which Vasquez said is “a troubling thing.” Lawshea’s first murder trial ended Aug. 26 with a deadlocked jury, and Vasquez declared a mistrial.

After hearing from Woods and Vanes, Vasquez recessed the trial until Thursday morning.

Woods said he would need until Friday morning to present the state’s case. Vanes said he will call two witnesses for the defense.

Lawshea was charged Sept. 7, 2012, in the fatal shooting of Latarus Foster, 29, of Gary.

According to court documents, Gary police responded to a shooting in the 3300 block of Maryland Street on Sept. 2, 2012, and found Foster lying in the parkway near a curb.

A witness told police she had been bowling in Merrillville with Lawshea before going to his home on Maryland Street in Gary, court records state. The two argued and the woman left, then heard a gunshot, according to court records.

The woman told police she saw Lawshea about 15 feet from Foster’s body after she returned to the sidewalk, according to a probable cause affidavit. She also saw Lawshea holding a gun as he began to walk between two houses in the neighborhood, according to court records.

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