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Defense seeks special prosecutor in Hobart Walmart shooting case
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Defense seeks special prosecutor in Hobart Walmart shooting case

From the This week in local crime news: Hammond police shoot boy, 15, after chase; teen's family speaks out series
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CROWN POINT — A defense attorney for the Gary man accused of wounding two people in a shootout at a crowded Hobart Walmart is requesting a special prosecutor be assigned to handle the attempted murder case.

Russell W. Brown Jr., defense attorney for Alex C. Hughes, told Judge Salvador Vasquez on Tuesday morning he wanted a special prosecutor for Hughes' case after learning Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter's sister and brother-in-law were at the Walmart during the Sept. 30 shooting.

Brown said he was informed about Carter's connection to the shooting through Lake County Supervisory Prosecutor Michael Toth. He said Toth told him the sister was in the store at the time of the shooting, and her husband was sitting in their vehicle. The husband reported to detectives he saw a black male firing a gun during the shooting.

Brown argued the fact that the prosecutor's family members were alleged victims and possible witnesses presented a conflict of interest for the prosecutor's office.

Lake County Deputy Prosecutor David Rooda told the judge neither family member was a named victim in the case and they would not be called at trial as witnesses.

Vasquez said he agreed with the defense that the family members' presence during the shooting could imperil the impartiality of the prosecutor's office. Rooda requested the judge allow parties to file written briefs, which he granted.

Vasquez told parties to file their briefs by Dec. 7. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Hughes, 26, is charged with two counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery, criminal gang activity and criminal recklessness on allegations he shot a 25-year-old father and his 9-year-old son the evening of Sept. 30 outside the Walmart off U.S. 30 in Hobart.

Both victims survived the shooting, but suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Hughes was taken into custody Oct. 9.

Vasquez granted two motions Tuesday by the state seeking medical records from the father and a DNA swab from Hughes.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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