Fifth inmate claims accused murderer confessed

2013-08-28T13:14:00Z 2013-08-29T00:29:03Z Fifth inmate claims accused murderer confessedBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
August 28, 2013 1:14 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | A fifth inmate has come forward claiming Hammond resident Julius Garza confessed his role in an April 7, 2012 double slaying just outside of Valparaiso.

The revelations resulted Tuesday in Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper granting a request by the defense to delay the trial to allow time to investigate the claims.

The Sept. 9 trial was postponed until Nov. 4, with a status hearing scheduled for Oct. 8.

Defense attorney Larry Rogers said his client, Garza, denies having anything to do with the killings or talking to the inmates in question.

Rogers, who called the case against Garza very weak, said he intends to seek out other inmates, who will say Garza never discussed his role in the crime.

Among those claiming Garza confessed is Charles Wade III, who testified in February against convicted murderer Dustin McCowan and received a break in his prison sentence as a result of his cooperation.

Garza, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, is accused of killing Jeffery Trinka, 40, of Valparaiso, and Jennifer Guinn, 31, of Hammond, at a home in the 1500 block of Lincolnway in Center Township.

Porter County 911 dispatchers received a call about 2:11 a.m. April 7, 2012 from Guinn, who told them her friend had been shot, according to court documents. Dispatchers then reportedly heard gunshots and the woman went silent.

Dispatchers traced the woman's cellphone to the home, where authorities confronted Garza.

Wednesday's delay is the third for the trial.

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