S'ville man found guilty of murdering Hammond man

2012-05-21T20:00:00Z 2012-05-21T20:28:04Z S'ville man found guilty of murdering Hammond manBy Susan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | A Lake County jury convicted a Schererville man Monday of murdering a Hammond man in July 2010.

Robert Albores, 25, was found guilty of fatally shooting Michael Miranda, 27, of Hammond, in July 2010. Albores testified he shot Miranda because he was afraid of him, but the prosecution argued Monday it was a case of revenge.

Miranda allegedly killed Albores' cousin two years before Miranda was shot to death, the prosecution said.

"Michael Miranda was unarmed" when he died, Lake County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jamise Perkins told jurors Monday at the close of the six-day trial. "He was a sitting duck."

Miranda was in his car in the 1900 block of 167th Street in Hammond when Albores' car pulled up next to him, the prosecution said. Albores fired seven shots into the car, striking and killing Miranda.

Albores fled and was listed as a fugitive by the U.S. Marshals Service's Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force. He was taken into custody in April 2011.

The jury found Albores not guilty of a charge of criminal gang activity. A trial witness testified to Albores' alleged involvement in the Latin Dragons. A conviction on that charge could have doubled Albores' sentence.

Perkins argued Albores' version of events didn't make sense in several ways, including the number of shots fired and how the fatal bullet entered Miranda's body.

Perkins demonstrated the bullet struck Miranda under the right arm, which was resting on the steering wheel.

Defense attorney Sam Cappas showed jurors how the bullet could have struck Miranda as he raised his arm, prompting Albores to believe Miranda was brandishing a gun to shoot him.

Cappas said the pattern of the shots reflected fear and panic on Albores' part.

"He fired in self-defense without intending to kill him," Cappas told jurors.

The murder conviction came after four hours of deliberation Monday. Albores is scheduled to be sentenced June 19.

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