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Courts
Jonathan Miano, The Times

MICHIGAN CITY — The murder of a used car lot owner was about as cold blooded as it gets, and a sentence to try and keep the convicted killer from never getting out of prison will be sought, according to LaPorte County Prosecutor John Espar.

Drops of blood from the victim were found on the shoes and pants belonging to the defendant, Espar said.

David Morris, 45, is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 27.

A jury in LaPorte Superior Court 1 found him guilty Wednesday of murder, robbery, burglary and theft in connection with the April stabbing death of Hufracio Arteaga.

Arteaga, 65, quickly bled to death after his carotid artery was severed when he was stabbed nine times in the neck inside Easy Drive Auto Sales, 117 W. 11th St., Michigan City.

His body was discovered four days later by the the car lot’s co-owner.

Espar said Morris ran errands and did other odd jobs at the car lot for a couple of years.

Within a few hours after the killing, Morris was captured on surveillance video using the victim’s credit card for a fast food order and doing it ‘’in a very cavalier, almost giddy manner. He displayed a level of detachment that would disturb even the most experienced homicide investigator,’’ said Espar.

Other purchases were made by Morris and other individuals he had given the card to.

Espar said Morris also stole two cars from the lot and was captured by surveillance video going in and out of the business on several occasions before the body was found.

A murder weapon very similar to a steak knife was found under the hood of one of the vehicles Morris stole from the lot, authorities said, and pictures from inside the office, taken during the time frame the murder occurred, were recovered from the defendant’s cell phone.

The defense claimed there was a lack of physical evidence to prove the case against Morris.

‘’There was so much circumstantial evidence, no one piece that would have, perhaps, been enough to prove the case in its entirety. But it was a wealth of circumstantial evidence that made this case a very strong case,’’ said Espar.

Morris could receive well over 100 years in prison, but exactly how much he could face varies because of some legal factors that will be decided prior to sentencing.

‘’I can assure you the state will be seeking a term of imprisonment that I suspect will keep the citizens of LaPorte County safe from the likes of David Morris for the rest of his natural life,’’ said Espar.

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