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Prosecutors want new bond hearing for man charged in videotaped rape at Hammond home

Prosecutors want new bond hearing for man charged in videotaped rape at Hammond home

CROWN POINT — The state is asking a criminal court judge to reconsider a bond reduction for Elias Costello, one of three defendants charged in the videotaped rape of a woman at her Hammond home.

Nadia Wardrip and Infinity Baulos, deputy prosecuting attorneys for Lake County, filed a motion Friday asking Judge Samuel L. Cappas to reconsider a decision Wednesday to reduce Costello's surety bond from $125,000 to $80,000, of which he would need to post $8,000 in cash to be released from Lake County Jail.

Judge Pro Tempore Timothy E. Bianco reduced Costello's bond after a hearing Wednesday. He also ordered Costello to await trial under house arrest and wearing an electronic monitoring device.

Bradley Carter, a spokesman for the Lake County prosecutor's office, said Costello had not bonded out of jail as of Friday. Once he bails out of jail, prosecutors cannot seek to retroactively increase his bond. 

Wardrip argued at the bond hearing Costello was a danger to the community due to the heinous nature of the alleged crimes and his extensive juvenile criminal record. She said the strong evidence of the case made a conviction likely, which meant Costello also was a flight risk.

Costello is charged alongside Nathaniel J. Asbury, 21, and a 16-year-old boy with sexually assaulting a woman while armed with a shotgun July 16 at her Hammond home, court records state. Asbury and the 16-year-old boy are accused of raping the woman while Costello held her down and groped her. The men also ransacked the home looking for valuables, records state.

The woman's mother alerted police to the burglary. She said she witnessed her daughter's sexual assault on a live camera feed she had installed in the home, records state.

Alexis M. Lietz, the victim's stepsister, was arrested outside the home during the burglary. She is accused of plotting the burglary with Costello, her boyfriend.

Defense attorney John Cantrell said Friday it was rare for the prosecutor's office to ask a judge to reconsider a bond reduction. He said when a defense attorney wants a second bond hearing, he or she must show that a change in their client's circumstance justified a second hearing.

“This is the rule in Indiana, and the prosecutor's office should not be held to a separate standard,” he said. “I don't mind zealous advocacy, but let's follow the rules.”

Costello is charged with rape, burglary, armed robbery, criminal confinement and sexual battery.

A new bond hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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