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CROWN POINT — A criminal court judge rescheduled a trial expected to begin Monday for Devonte D. Hodge, a 23-year-old man accused of attempted murder in his girlfriend's shooting in Gary.

Derla Gross, a defense attorney for Hodge, filed the motion to continue trial Wednesday morning in Judge Clarence Murray's courtroom.

Gross told the judge she needed more time to review state's evidence. She also needed to question a witness who resurfaced last week after police lost contact with him more than a year ago.

Supervisory Prosecutor Aleksandra Dimitrijevic told Murray the state had been searching for the witness since charges were filed, but he was not located until his arrest Thursday on a driving offense.

Murray granted the motion to continue Hodge's jury trial, though he noted Hodge recently was indicted in federal court for murder as part of the alleged drug conspiracy operated by Teddia Caldwell, the estranged husband of Gary Councilwoman Linda Barnes-Caldwell.

The judge said the federal government likely would take custody of Hodge for trial on those charges, and he was concerned it would be difficult for state prosecutors to reclaim him after the federal trial.

The judge said it was prudent to reschedule a new trial so it was made clear to federal authorities the state had unfinished business with Hodge.

Gross suggested a new trial date in October, though prosecutors asked for something sooner. The parties agreed on an Aug. 13 trial date, with a pretrial conference July 10.

Hodge, of Gary, is charged in Lake Criminal Court with attempted murder and two counts of felony battery on allegations he shot his girlfriend in the head shortly before midnight Dec. 8 in the 400 block of Matthews Street.

Hodge and Caldwell are charged in U.S. District Court with murder in the fatal shooting Oct. 8, 2016, of Akeem Oliver, 29, of Gary, near East 20th Avenue and Virginia Street in Gary.

Hodge previously was charged in state court in two other separate incidents of murder, but the cases were dismissed after one witness was killed and another recanted his statement.

A detective said at a bond hearing last February Hodge was a suspect in a total of four murders, including the state witness' killing.


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.