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Teen convicted of murdering Hammond mother in 2017
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Teen convicted of murdering Hammond mother in 2017

CROWN POINT — A Lake Criminal Court jury deliberated about two hours Monday before finding a 19-year-old guilty of murdering a Hammond mother four years ago.

Omarion E. Wilbourn, 19, of Hammond, declined to take the witness stand during his six-day trial before Judge Diane Boswell.

The jury convicted Wilbourn of murder in the perpetration of a robbery, robbery and theft. He was 15 years old when the crimes were committed.

Lake County Supervisory Deputy Prosecutor Michelle M. Jatkiewicz told jurors in her closing arguments Friday that Wilbourn walked through the unlocked front door of Lucia "Lucy" Gonzalez's home in 7500 block of Alexander Avenue in Hammond the night of Aug. 21, 2017, to steal her cellphone.

Wilbourn previously had purchased marijuana at the home from Gonzalez's boyfriend, Marco Vera, though Gonzalez was unaware of that activity, Vera testified.

Ride along with Officer Jimmy Weller as he patrols the region's border of Lake Michigan as part of the Lake County Sheriff's Marine Unit. Video by Connor Burge. 

Jatkiewicz said Gonzalez apparently confronted Wilbourn with a knife and a struggle ensued.

Evidence suggested Gonzalez stabbed Wilbourn at least once before he overpowered her, slashing her 14 times and fracturing her skull with a metal crowbar, the deputy prosecutor said.

Wilbourn grabbed Gonzalez's cellphone, peddled home on a bike and immediately jumped into the shower, Jatkiewicz said.

Gonzalez's then-6-year-old daughter discovered the grisly crime scene the following morning and took her siblings to a neighbor's home to seek help.

Hammond police tracked the missing cellphone to a home, where they found it beneath a pillow up which officers found Wilbourn asleep, she said.

Wilbourn claimed the cellphone had been given to him and said he was stabbed in the back during a fight at a park. The men he claimed to have fought denied the allegations, Jatkiewicz said.

Investigators found DNA — traced to the male line of Wilbourn's family — on Gonzalez's bra and Gonzalez's DNA on Wilbourn's underpants.

Teen charged in 2 rapes, 1 murder says he doesn't want to spend his life in jail

Wilbourn's defense attorney, John Maksimovich, told the jury in his closing statements the prosecution was built only on innuendo.

Wilbourn's DNA sample on Gonzalez's bra was too small to be reliable and Gonzalez's DNA could be transferred by her to her cellphone and then to Wilbourn when he handled her cellphone, he said.

“That’s not murder,” Maksimovich said.

Wilbourn, who has been in custody since his arrest in 2017, is serving a 40-year prison sentence he received last month after pleading guilty to the rape of a 14-year-old girl and a 25-year-old woman several weeks before the homicide.

Online court records did not yet list a sentencing date in Wilbourn's murder case.

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