Man charged in slayings says he was supposed to be a trial witness

2013-10-15T13:25:00Z 2013-10-16T10:02:05Z Man charged in slayings says he was supposed to be a trial witnessBob Kasarda, (219) 548-4345
October 15, 2013 1:25 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | The second of two men charged with an April 7, 2012, double murder at a house just outside of Valparaiso told a judge Tuesday he does not know why he is behind bars.

"I was supposed to be a witness," Hammond resident Alejandro Sanchez told Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper.

When asked, Sanchez said he did not understand the reason he was charged.

"No, because I didn't do nothing," he said.

Sanchez made the comments during an initial hearing on two count of murder. That hearing was carried out via a teleconferencing call between the Porter County Jail and the Porter County Courthouse.

He is charged with the 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.

Also charged with two counts of murder in the killings is Julius Garza, 20, of Hammond, who is set to go to trial Nov. 4.

Sanchez, 21, repeatedly voiced confusion Tuesday as the judge explained his rights, entered preliminary pleas of not guilty on his behalf and scheduled a March 3 trial.

Harper also appointed Sanchez a public defender after Sanchez said as a special education student, he dropped out of school in ninth grade and has not worked for six years.

While Garza told police at the murder scene that he overhead the killings while hiding at the house, police said his version of the events are not supported by a recording of the E-911 call, according to details released Monday.

A female who said she traveled to the house in question with Sanchez, Garza and a third man told police they went with the intention of robbing Trinka of marijuana, according to court documents. The group took an AK-47 firearm purchased by Garza and it was used to shoot through the front door killing Trinka, the woman said.

She said Garza and Sanchez then entered the house and Sanchez came back a short time later to the vehicle saying two people were dead. Three of the people reportedly fled and police said they found Garza attempting to drive away when they arrived.

Police said they recovered the AK-47 and a .25-caliber pistol outside the house, along with the cellphone Guinn used to call E-911 before she was shot.

Trinka was pronounced dead at the scene and Guinn died later at Porter Regional Hospital, police said. Both suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

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