Lake Station hostage taker sent to prison

2013-08-22T18:00:00Z 2013-08-22T23:19:07Z Lake Station hostage taker sent to prisonBill Dolan, (219) 662-5328
August 22, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A Portage man must serve a 20-year prison term for holding four adults and two infants at gunpoint last year during a robbery in a Lake Station home.

A judge imposed the sentence on Juan Francisco Abeyta, 25, on Thursday. Abeyta pleaded guilty but mentally ill last month to six felony counts of confinement.

Abeyta entered the plea agreement with Lake County prosecutors in return for the dropping of 11 other felony charges of robbery, intimidation and illegal residential entry.

Lake Criminal Court Judge Clarence Murray gave Abeyta credit for already serving 892 days in jail while awaiting sentencing. Abeyta also will be on probation 10 years after finishing his prison term.

Authorities said Abyeta was armed with a shotgun when he entered a house in the 3300 block of Iowa Street in Lake Station. He went in through a back door sometime after midnight June 3, 2012, and ordered the adults inside to strip to their underwear, prosecutors allege.

He then threatened to rape the women and kill everyone, including two 1-year-old children, if they didn't give him $3,000, court records state.

Police said Abeyta previously lived in the house and knew one of the victims had just been paid. Police also said Abeyta pointed a gun at one baby's head during the robbery.

Someone called police to report the robbery in progress. Officers arrived to disarm and arrest Abyeta.

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