CROWN POINT — A woman testified Tuesday she did not want to pursue charges against her boyfriend, Elias Costello, for the alleged July 8 burglary of her Hammond home.

Denise Mata said at a bond hearing for Costello, who is jailed on allegations he burgled the woman's home and then later participated in a different woman's gang rape during a second home invasion in Hammond, she wanted a criminal court judge to reduce Costello's bond in the burglary case.

She acknowledged the state could pursue charges without her assistance — her mother is also a victim of the burglary — but she said she wanted to have contact with Costello.

Costello, 18, is charged in Lake Criminal Court with burglary on allegations he broke into the woman's home July 8 and stole television sets, four purses and jewelry.

Costello was arrested July 16 after a second burglary he allegedly plotted with another girlfriend, Alexis Lietz. Police allege Costello and two other defendants, Nathaniel J. Asbury, 21, and a 16-year-old boy, raped a 19-year-old woman at gunpoint during the home invasion.

A judge pro tempore initially granted Costello a bond reduction in the rape case, but Judge Samuel L. Cappas reversed that decision during a second bond hearing last week. Costello's surety bond in the rape case is $125,000, of which he would need to post $12,500 to be released from jail.

Costello's bond in the second burglary case is $100,000. Defense attorney John Cantrell argued Tuesday the bond was unnecessarily high, given the nature of the offense.

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Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Infinity Baulos argued the bond was high because Costello was a danger to the community. She said Costello was a suspect in multiple burglaries in Hammond, and he posted photos on social media posing with stolen firearms.

Cappas asked whether Costello was charged or expected to be charged in other burglaries, at which point Baulos requested they speak at the bench. After the discussion, Cappas agreed to reduce Costello's surety bond to $60,000, with the condition he wear an ankle monitor while awaiting trial.

“Whether he is or isn't a suspect (in other burglaries), this bond cannot be used as a punitive measure for something that will take place in the future,” he said.

Costello would need to post the bonds in both cases to be released from jail. 

A new court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11.

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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.