HAMMOND — A federal judge has set the stage for a Hammond man to finally be sentenced for a double murder more than 21 years ago.
U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon reaffirmed Thursday that Jeremiah S. Farmer is to be sentenced Oct. 27 for killing Marion Lowry and Harvey Siegers at Calumet Auto Rebuilders, 5105 Calumet Ave., where they worked.
The judge’s six-page opinion, publicly released late last week, turned aside the final 30 of Latin Kings street gang member’s objections to his trial and conviction for the two killings and his role in the gang’s illicit trafficking of marijuana and cocaine.
Justice has long been delayed for the victims and their family.
Police were called late in the morning of June 25, 1999, to the victim’s body shop, where they found Lowry, 74, of Hammond, and co-worker Siegers, 66, of Orland Park, Illinois, both had been fatally beaten with a sledgehammer.
The case languished for two years as police sorted through a number of false leads until receiving an anonymous letter stating the 38-year-old Farmer had bragged about the crime.
The government said the victims’ business was in Latin Kings territory.
The Latin Kings is a Chicago-based gang with local organizations, called “hoods” in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago.
Witnesses said Farmer had told fellow gang members he killed the victims because they may have seen a shooting he committed for the Latin Kings and they talked to police too much.
Hammond police often used the body shop for the repair of damaged squad cars.
Hammond police arrested Farmer in 2001, but the Lake County prosecutor had to drop murder charges against Farmer in state court after gang members had bribed or intimidated witnesses into silence, records state.
The U.S. Attorney’s office, with the help of federal law enforcement, took on the Latin Kings, charging 38 members with racketeering as well as Farmer with the double homicide.
A federal jury heard 10 days of testimony and argument before finding Farmer guilty.
Farmer fired his trial attorneys — and five other court-appointed lawyers — and acted as his own legal counsel to author 90 petitions for acquittal, and other complaints the judge dismissed as too vague to have merit.
James Lenoir Williams
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