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Defendant in Walmart shooting must remain on GPS monitor, judge says

Defendant in Walmart shooting must remain on GPS monitor, judge says

CROWN POINT — A Gary man wants a judge to dismiss one of two attempted murder counts against him because ballistics analysis showed the bullet that wounded a child outside the Hobart Walmart last year was not fired from his gun.

Alex Hughes, 27, of Gary, previously was granted a bond reduction because of the ballistics evidence in the case. Hughes posted a $10,000 cash bond March 12.

Hughes was charged in October with two counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery and two counts of criminal gang activity in connection with a shooting Sept. 30 outside the Hobart Walmart that wounded a 26-year-old Gary man and his then-9-year-old son. Hughes and the man belong to rival gangs, police said.

Hughes' attorney, Russell Brown Jr., also asked Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez on Tuesday to remove Hughes from GPS monitoring as a condition of his pretrial release.

Brown said Hughes has had difficulty finding a job since his release from jail. Hughes had been employed before his arrest in October, Brown said.

"With the media coverage, when he applies for jobs he is not getting a call back," Brown said.

Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Michael Toth objected to removing Hughes' ankle monitor. Toth said he wasn't confident Hughes had no recent monitoring violations, considering recent media coverage of the Lake County sheriff's concerns about reporting violations by ICU Monitoring.

Vasquez said ICU Monitoring was on notice that any violation must be reported. The judge said he had received no notifications of any violations by Hughes, so he had to assume there weren't any.

However, Vasquez denied the request to remove Hughes' ankle monitor.

"You've given me nothing in terms of what he's done, where he's applied — anything to show he has in fact made an effort to become employed," Vasquez told Brown. 

Vasquez said he would be willing to reconsider the request at a later date.

In the motion to dismiss, Brown wrote the state's only basis for charging Hughes in connection with a 9-year-old's shooting was that Hughes shot at and intended to kill the boy's father but instead shot the boy.

A spent bullet recovered from the boy's body showed it was fired from a gun Hughes didn't possess, the motion says. 

Toth has said at previous hearings that he's not certain the gun Brown turned over to him was the gun used in the shooting, partly because Brown won't tell him who brought the gun to Brown's office.

Police also seized a gun from a friend of the boy's father, after that man retreated inside the Walmart during the gunfire, court records say. That man admitted he shot at Hughes in self-defense, records show.

Vasquez gave Toth until June 25 to respond to the motion to dismiss. He set a hearing on the motion for June 28.

Vasquez also told Brown his request to delay Hughes' July 22 trial was premature.

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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