CROWN POINT — William "Bill" Landske, the husband of deceased state Sen. Sue Landske and former Cedar Lake councilman, made his first court appearance Monday on a murder charge in last week's shooting of prominent attorney T. Edward Page.
Landske, 83, appeared in Lake Criminal Court shackled and dressed in a gray-and-white jail uniform before Judge Kathleen Sullivan, a close friend of Page. He sat among seven other men accused of various crimes while four jail guards watched over the proceeding.
A preliminary plea of not guilty was entered on Landske's behalf. The plea will be formally entered at a formal court appearance scheduled for Aug. 31. Landske is expected to appear before Judge Salvador Vasquez on that date.
Landske told Sullivan he retained private counsel, Larry Rogers, who did not attend the hearing.
Landske spoke clearly and seemed at ease during the court hearing. He provided from memory his date of birth, Social Security number and Cedar Lake address. He told Sullivan he finished one year of college and had no prior criminal history.
However, twice the defendant seemed to misunderstand the judge's instructions. While Sullivan was reading another defendant his charges, which included one count of carrying a handgun without a license, Landske interrupted and said, “Ma'am, I had a license.”
The judge told Landske she was reading a different defendant's charges. He again mistakenly thought the judge was speaking to him later in the hearing.
“I will say your name when I'm speaking to you,” Sullivan said.
Landske is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of Page at the 64-year-old attorney's residence in the 1200 block of West Fourth Street in Hobart, court records state.
He was taken into custody at the scene after Page's husband, Kevin Swanson, disarmed him.
Landske allegedly told authorities he shot Page, a longtime family friend, because he was frustrated with the attorney's lack of progress in his deceased wife's tax case. Landske was at Page's residence with his two daughters to collect tax paperwork Page had in his possession.
Landske's children had obtained power of attorney for their father the day before the shooting, records state. Page had filed his letter of retirement with the Lake County public defender's office that same day.
Sullivan said murder is punishable by 45 to 65 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.