VALPARAISO — Prosecutors have a strand of hair from a Chesterton murder case they want to have DNA-tested, but the test will destroy the piece of evidence in question, according to court records.
In keeping with its obligation to let the court and defense know about this "necessary consumption of evidence," a hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 1 before Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer.
The strand in question was recovered from the rear passenger door window trim of the vehicle in which 23-year-old Nicole Gland was found stabbed to death, according to court records.
Hobart resident Christopher Dillard, 53, is charged with murdering Gland, of Portage, on April 19, 2017, by stabbing her in her vehicle in a parking area behind the former Upper Deck Lounge, 139 S. Calumet Road.
An analyst with the Indiana State Police laboratory has determined the strand of hair "has sufficient root material for DNA testing," according to the request for the hearing. But in conducting the DNA testing, "the potential genetic material from the hair strand will be completely consumed."
Prosecutors are requesting a brief hearing to explain "the evidentiary significance of this request and to make a complete record."
Defense attorney Bob Harper said Friday he recently heard about the request and is waiting to decide what stand to take.
He said both sides also are waiting on other lab results and conducting interviews in preparation for the Sept. 30 trial before Clymer.
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Dillard has pleaded not guilty, but authorities said he admitted to the crime during an interrogation by Chesterton police. That alleged confession was subsequently tossed out by the Indiana Appellate Court because Chesterton police ignored Dillard's repeated requests for an attorney, according to records.
Dillard, who was picked up by police the same day of the killing, told his girlfriend while at the Chesterton Police Department, "I killed that girl. I didn't mean to," according to the charging information.
"He indicated to her that the drugs had a hold of him," police have said.
The defense made a failed attempt in April at having the trial moved out of Porter County, arguing Dillard could not receive a fair trial because of pretrial publicity, especially the coverage of the confession being suppressed as evidence.
In denying the motion for a change of venue, Clymer said extra precaution will take place during jury selection, and, if there is additional evidence that a fair, unbiased jury cannot be selected, he will consider another motion.