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CROWN POINT — A deputy prosecutor took a plea deal for a Crown Point father charged with murder in his son's shooting off the table Wednesday and said he was preparing for trial.

Jerome Wilderness Sr., 65, faces a murder charge alleging he repeatedly shot his 39-year-old son, Jerome Wilderness Jr., to death Feb. 17, 2018, at their home in the 1200 block of West 97th Place.

Deputy Prosecutor Jonathan Soverly said his office had offered Wilderness a plea agreement that would have capped his sentence at 20 years. Soverly said his office was withdrawing the offer and looking forward to trial.

Wilderness appeared in custody alongside his attorney, James Thiros, for Wednesday's hearing. 

According to court records, the shooting was recorded after the younger Wilderness attempted to call a relative and reached her voicemail.

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The elder Wilderness can be heard yelling at his son to leave the house in the message. The son said, “You shot me, n*****,” then two pop sounds are heard, followed by, “Why Dad? Why Dad?” records allege.

A final pretrial hearing was set for May 8. Wilderness's trial is scheduled to begin June 10.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.