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Man pleads guilty in sledgehammer attack outside Hammond middle school
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Man pleads guilty in sledgehammer attack outside Hammond middle school

PATRICK JOSEPH ROSS.jpg

Patrick J. Ross

CROWN POINT — A 43-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to attacking another man with a sledgehammer in 2018 outside a Hammond middle school.

Patrick Ross, of Hammond, admitted to criminal confinement and battery resulting in serious bodily injury, level 3 and 5 felonies, respectively, in the attack Jan. 25, 2018, outside Scott Middle School.

If Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell accepts Ross' plea agreement, she would sentence him to 20 years, with 10 years in prison and 10 suspended in favor of probation.

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Ross was convicted in February 2020 of attempted murder, criminal confinement and two counts of battery following a trial before Boswell. 

The judge later agreed to set aside the convictions and granted Ross a new trial after Jamise Perkins, his attorney at the time, argued he never clearly said he wanted to represent himself.

Ross' original public defender, Casey McCloskey, withdrew from the case days after his trial opened because Ross repeatedly accused him of colluding with prosecutors. Boswell granted McCloskey's motion to withdraw, but initially denied a motion for a mistrial.

Ross represented himself during the rest of his trial, at one point telling jurors he knew how to swing a hammer and would have killed the man if that had been his intention.

He also admitted to "popping Xanax like Tic Tacs" and drinking a fifth of gin before attacking the man, who was there to pick up one of Ross' children.

The man fathered a child by Ross' ex-wife while Ross was incarcerated for breaking a beer bottle over the man's head in 2012, according to trial testimony.

Ross' latest defense attorney is John Maksimovich. Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Burke handled the case for the state.

Boswell scheduled Ross' sentencing hearing for Aug. 6.

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Ross was convicted in February of multiple felony counts in the sledgehammer attack Jan. 25, 2018, outside Scott Middle School in Hammond. A judge set aside that verdict in March, because Ross' public defender withdrew from the case mid-trial and Ross repeatedly said he didn't want to represent himself.

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