HAMMOND — Federal prosecutors announced Friday a Hammond man already charged in a sprawling federal racketeering case against the Latin Kings street gang committed the brutal 1999 murders of two men at a Hammond car repair shop.
Jeremiah S. Farmer, 37, was accused Friday of using a small sledgehammer to fatally bludgeon Marion Lowry and Harvey Siegers on June 25, 1999, at Calumet Auto Rebuilders, 5105 Calumet Ave.
The men were found in a pool of blood in the business's garage by a mail carrier shortly before noon, according to The Times archives. Lowry, the 74-year-old owner of the business, died soon after the attack from a severe blow to the head. Siegers died two days later at an area hospital, just hours before his 67th birthday.
Farmer was charged in May 2001 by the Lake County prosecutor's office for the men's murders, but the case was dismissed less than a year later after witnesses refused to cooperate.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch II said at a news conference Friday announcing the new charges investigators determined Mark A. Toney, a 39-year-old Latin Kings member, used threats to silence a key state's witness in the 2001 case.
A two-count superseding indictment filed Friday claims Toney confronted the witness in December 2001 on Sibley Street and warned he “was in the wrong place to be tricking on people.”
Toney called the witness again later that month and threatened to burn down his house and rape his wife and daughters if he continued to cooperate, the indictment states.
Another witness, who allegedly washed Farmer's bloody clothes after the double murder, was offered money, marijuana and a place to stay by a member of Farmer's family if she would provide a false alibi for him.
Farmer allegedly fled to Daytona Beach, Florida, after a sketch of the suspect in the homicides was released to the public. Between 1999 and 2001, he had two teardrops tattooed on his face, allegedly to commemorate his role in the two men's murders.
Though the prosecution was stymied, investigators doggedly pursued the case, which resulted in Friday's charges, almost 20 years after the murders, Kirsch said.
"We will not give up in bringing criminals to justice," he said.
Kirsch said Lowry and Siegers were targeted because Calumet Auto Rebuilders was located in the Latin Kings' territory, and the gang believed they had “information.”
A witness during the 2001 prosecution told investigators Farmer claimed he killed the men because he believed they had seen him fire a gun on a previous date at a car leaving ABC Pagers, formerly at the intersection of Calumet Avenue and Michigan Street, the archives state.
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Kelly Jacobson, the daughter of Marion Lowry, attended Friday's news conference with other family members, including Lowry's wife, Janie.
"We hope we get justice," Jacobson said. "It's been almost 20 years."
She said the family was unaware until Friday the investigation was so far-reaching.
The charges filed Friday were part of an ongoing investigation into the Latin Kings operations throughout Northwest Indiana.
Farmer and 10 other Latin Kings members were charged in January 2017 with conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and drug conspiracy.
Friday's superseding indictment names six gang members, including Farmer and Toney, who allegedly participated in a conspiracy to commit racketeering by distributing cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam, or Xanax, with the conspiracies stretching back to 1999.
The men charged Friday besides Farmer and Toney are Sean Michael “Big Body” Pena, 36, of Hammond; David “Silent” Ulmenstine, 27, of Harvey, Illinois; Miguel Angel “Egg” Marines, 24, of East Chicago; and Reynaldo “Sneaky” Robles, 27, of Lake Station.
In total, 50 members or associates of the Latin Kings have been charged in the Northern District of Indiana as part of the Latin Kings investigation.
Forty-two members have been convicted, Kirsch said, and six are awaiting trial on charges.
Kirsch said the 1999 slayings marked the sixth cold murder case prosecuted as part of the investigation into the Latin Kings.
The superseding indictment provides a different spelling for Lowry's surname.