CROWN POINT — A 75-year-old self-described "retired drag queen" was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for stabbing a man to death earlier this year at a Gary apartment building.
Edward Miller, of Gary, said he was sorry for killing 64-year-old Carlos Johnson, whom Miller accused of using homophobic slurs against him.
"I regret it," Miller said.
Johnson's brother, Rafe Johnson, said Miller took his only brother from him.
"He took the better part of me," he said.
Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Kathleen Kurowski said Carlos Johnson died from severe blood loss after the stabbing March 26 at an apartment building in the 100 block of West 11th Avenue.
Miller was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter, eventually pleading guilty to the lower-level felony charge.
Miller and Carlos Johnson were alone together at the time of the stabbing, and the state could have faced a challenge if the case had gone to trial because of a lack of a second eyewitness, Kurowski said.
Miller's attorney, Casey McCloskey, said 20 years in prison essentially would be a life sentence for Miller.
McCloskey asked Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell to recommend placement at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, where Miller previously served time for drug possession. He was released in 2013.
Miller must serve 75% of his sentence and will not be eligible for any alternative sentencing programs, a plea agreement stated.
If Miller is released from prison, he will be placed on parole for life.
Gary police found Johnson lying against a wall with stab wounds to his neck, both arms and back, court records say.
A trail of blood led out of an apartment into a hallway, and police found a large, brown-handled knife with blood on it in the apartment's kitchen sink.
Miller had blood on his shirt and pants and was standing near the apartment door, records say.