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Man pleads guilty in attempted robbery that led to 16-year-old's death

Man pleads guilty in attempted robbery that led to 16-year-old's death

CROWN POINT — A Hammond man recently pleaded guilty to an attempted robbery charge in a 2017 shooting that left a 16-year-old Hammond boy dead and a then-20-year-old East Chicago man wounded.

Augustus J. Johnson III, 23, admitted he and two other men planned to rob the East Chicago man of marijuana Nov. 2, 2017, outside the Marquette Apartments in the 400 block of South Grand Boulevard in Gary's Miller section, Lake Criminal Court records show.

The attempted robbery led to the shooting death of Diego Serna, 16, a junior at the Hammond Academy of Science and Technology, documents state.

Ride along with LaPorte Police Specialist Justin Dyer as he patrols the streets of LaPorte.

If Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez accepts Johnson's plea, Johnson would be sentenced to 10 years in prison. 

Johnson admitted he sent text messages to the East Chicago man the day of the shooting about purchasing marijuana, records state.

The man agreed to drive to Marquette Apartments and took Serna with him.

The robbery plan was for Johnson to drive and his alleged accomplices to force the East Chicago man and Serna to the ground and take the man's marijuana, the plea agreement states.

The Times is not naming Johnson's alleged accomplices, because no public record of charges against them in the case could be found.

One of the accomplices came up behind the East Chicago man as the man got out of his car and forced him to the ground at gunpoint, records allege.

That accomplice shot the East Chicago man and got back into a car driven by Johnson, documents state.

The second accomplice shot and killed Serna as Serna ran from the East Chicago man's car, records allege.

The East Chicago man was shot nine times, according to court records. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for broken bones as a result of his gunshot wounds.

Detectives recovered eight spent .40-caliber casings, three spent 9 mm casings and three spent bullets from the scene, records state.

Vasquez scheduled Johnson's sentencing for July 16.


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