CROWN POINT — A man pleaded guilty and was placed on probation Thursday for attempting to intimidate a witness in an East Chicago murder case.
Issac S. Facen, 27, of East Chicago, admitted in a plea agreement that Robert S. Currie persuaded him to take steps between Dec. 17, 2017, and Jan. 30, 2018, to prevent a witness from cooperating in the prosecution of Currie for murder.
Facen pleaded guilty to one count of felony obstruction of justice. In exchange for his plea, the Lake County prosecutor's office dropped two additional charges of obstruction of justice.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced Facen to two years in the Department of Correction, all suspended and to be served on probation.
Facen admitted in his plea agreement that he showed up to Currie's bond hearing Jan. 30, 2018, with the intent to scare the witness.
Currie asked Facen in recorded phone calls from Lake County Jail to attend the hearing so witnesses will “think twice” and “tell the truth” when they testify about the shooting, court records state.
Currie was sentenced in October to 24 years in prison for the shooting death of Ashanti “Bundles” Walden, 25, of Gary, on June 23, 2017, in the 4800 block of Alexander Avenue in East Chicago.
Currie originally was charged with murder but pleaded guilty Sept. 11 to a charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors said at Currie's sentencing hearing that the motive for Currie shooting Walden and another man was gang activity.
Currie was affiliated with the Ville Block faction of the Vice Lords street gang, while Walden was affiliated with a rival faction of the gang called Young Money Hustlers.
According to testimony at sentencing, Currie specifically mentioned Ville Block when making calls from the Lake County Jail to associates in a plot to intimidate witnesses from coming forward.
Rap songs by Walden with lyrics alluding to Currie also played a part in the shooting, officials said. Currie also claimed Walden robbed and wounded him in 2012 or 2013, but that case never made it to court.