CROWN POINT — The 16-year-old boy charged as an adult with committing rape and murder in Hammond was assigned a new formal court appearance date Friday while his family discusses hiring private counsel.
Omarion E. Wilbourn appeared in custody Friday in Lake Criminal Court wearing a red jail jumpsuit, standard issue for juvenile defendants.
He told Magistrate Judge Natalie Bokota his family hired defense attorney Michael A. Campbell to represent him on two counts of rape and murder, but the attorney was unable to attend the hearing.
Campbell said Friday Wilbourn's family had not yet retained him to represent Wilbourn on the adult charges. He said the discussions were ongoing.
Campbell has represented Wilbourn for the past year in Lake Juvenile Court, where charges were initially filed due to his age. Campbell filed an interlocutory appeal last week asking the state's Court of Appeals to remand Wilbourn's case back to juvenile court.
Bokota scheduled a new formal appearance for Thursday. Michelle Jatkiewicz, deputy prosecutor for Lake County, asked that the defense be accountable for any time wasted under speedy trial rules.
Wilbourn was charged Sept. 5 in Lake Criminal Court with the murder of Lucia Gonzales, who was bludgeoned and stabbed to death Aug. 21, 2017, at her residence in the 7500 block of Alexander Avenue.
A neighbor told authorities she saw Wilbourn fleeing the residence the night of Gonzales' death, court records state. The 25-year-old woman's cell phone was also found in Wilbourn's possession two days after the murder.
Wilbourn is also charged with the rape July 16, 2017, of a 14-year-old girl in the 6700 block of Grand Avenue and the rape of a 25-year-old woman Aug. 8, 2017, in the 7500 block of Arkansas Avenue. The boy allegedly threatened both victims with a hammer before assaulting them, court records state.
Police allege they have DNA evidence connecting Wilbourn to the rapes. Gonzales' DNA was also found on Wilbourn's underwear, records state.
Campbell said last week he believed Hammond police were too quick to rule out another suspect in Gonzales' murder.