Defense move foiled in Valpo-area murder case

2014-03-11T16:30:00Z 2014-03-25T18:22:08Z Defense move foiled in Valpo-area murder caseBob Kasarda, (219) 548-4345

VALPARAISO | A judge ruled Tuesday that one defense attorney in a murder case has no right to question another about conversations that second attorney had with his client, who is also charged in the case.

Mitch Peters said he wanted to question fellow defense attorney Larry Rogers about a meeting he and his client, Julius Garza, had with Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek at the county jail.

Peters said the information is key to his research into the case because his client, Alejandro Sanchez, went from being a witness in the case to facing two counts of murder in the wake of the meeting.

"I'm not on a fishing expedition," he said in response to a charge made by Polarek. "I know pretty much what was said at that meeting."

Sanchez and Garza, both of Hammond, are charged with the April 7, 2012, shooting deaths of Jeffery Trinka, 40, of Valparaiso, and Jennifer Guinn, 31, of Hammond, at a house in the 1500 block of Lincolnway in Center Township.

The jail meeting does not fall under attorney and client confidentiality protection because a prosecutor was present, which is the same as an investigator, Peters said.

While the ruling will prevent Peters from questioning Rogers about details of the meeting, Rogers did take the witness stand Tuesday morning to say his client met with Polarek to share his take on the crime in hope of having the two murder charges against him reduced to lower level counts.

Rogers said he took no notes of the meeting and does not believe it was recorded.

When Peters asked Rogers if Garza put blame on Sanchez for the killings during the meeting, Polarek objected and the judge prevented the question from being answered.

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