VALPARAISO | The services of a public defender were awarded Thursday afternoon to a Gary man, who turned himself to authorities a day earlier on charges he killed Portage resident Carl Griffith Sr.
Dontaye Singletary, 20, made an initial appearance before Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford via a teleconferencing system from the Porter County Jail.
Singletary said nothing as Bradford read the charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Singletary was informed the murder charge carries a potential sentence of 45 to 65 years behind bars and the conspiracy count has a maximum prison sentence of 20 to 50 years.
Singletary told the court he has no job or legal source of income, which helped qualify him to be represented by a public defender.
He declined the opportunity to ask questions after Bradford set a trial for May 6, with preliminary hearings March 11 and April 1.
Police believe Singletary was hired by Portage resident Sheaurice Major, 42, to shoot 72-year-old Griffith Nov. 1 outside his Portage home, police said.
Not guilty pleas were entered Wednesday on behalf of Major, who is also charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Both of the accused are being held without bond.
A witness told investigators Major contacted her a week before the murder and asked if she knew of anyone who could do harm to Griffith, according to police.
Major is listed with the Indiana secretary of state as co-owner of Affordable Towing of Gary, where Griffith worked.
Major was put in touch with Singletary by the witness and the witness said she drove Singletary back to Gary after the fatal shooting and later delivered a sealed envelope to him from Major, police said.
Portage police have declined to comment on the motive for the slaying.