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No trial date in sight for last of 3 charged with murder in 1980 slaying of Hammond policeman

No trial date in sight for last of 3 charged with murder in 1980 slaying of Hammond policeman


CROWN POINT — Attorneys have a lot of work to do before a 65-year-old man accused of fatally shooting an off-duty Hammond police officer in 1980 can be brought to trial.

Pierre Catlett, 65, of Harvey, Illinois, was charged with murder in June 2012 and was scheduled to stand trial this month.

Catlett's defense attorney, Derla Gross, said she anticipates reviewing a "massive" amount of discovery materials. She asked for a continuance of about six weeks.

Lake County First Assistant Deputy Prosecutor Peter Villarreal said he didn't object to a continuance, as long it it was attributed to Catlett.

Lake Criminal Court Judge Pro Tem Natalie Bokota set Catlett's next hearing for Aug. 7. No trial date is currently set.

Catlett, James Hill, of Gary, and Larry Mayes, of Portage, each were charged with murder in 2012 in connection with the shooting death of Hammond Police Officer Lawrence J. Pucalik on Nov. 14, 1980, at the Holiday Inn-Southeast, formerly at the intersection of Cline and Interstate 80/94.

Pucalik was working off duty there as a security guard when gunmen demanded cash from the hotel's front desk clerk.

Pucalik entered the lobby from a back room and saw the clerk was being robbed, but one of the robbers fatally shot Pucalik before he could draw his weapon. The men fled without their money.

Mayes was declared medically incompetent to stand trial in March 2014 for the officer's shooting. He was freed following treatment in a state facility.

Charges against Hill were dismissed, but later refiled in 2016. A jury convicted Hill in August, and he was sentenced to 47 years in prison.

Catlett wasn't brought to Indiana for trial until late last year, because he has been in custody in Illinois serving a prison sentence for aggravated battery.

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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