VALPARAISO — Fearing a fair trial would not otherwise be possible, the defense is seeking to move a Chesterton murder case out of Porter County or at least pick a jury from elsewhere.
"Attorney (Bob) Harper does not believe that a fair and impartial jury can be selected for Christopher Dillard with all the publicity that has been garnered by this case especially since the statements made by him that are not going to be allowed into evidence would be especially prejudicial to him," according to the motion.
The motion argues further that hundreds of people have commented on and/or shared the stories online and that the largest newspaper in the county wrote an editorial mentioning the case.
Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer scheduled a hearing for 2 p.m. Feb. 15.
Dillard, 52, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Nicole Gland, 23, of Portage, on April 19, 2017, by stabbing her in her vehicle in a parking area behind the former Upper Deck Lounge, 139 S. Calumet Road, in Chesterton.
The case has attracted a lot of attention, in part, because Dillard's confession was thrown out by the courts because Chesterton police ignored his repeated requests for an attorney during an 11-hour interrogation.
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the decision last month, leaving prosecutors with more of a challenge in the case.
"There was a petition started to remove the Chesterton Police Chief and it was as a result of this statement being suppressed, and that was an online petition where it had over 3,000 signatures," according to the motion.
The motion seeks a hearing in order to "subpoena the local media and have them bring their records."
Dillard, who was picked up by police the same day of the killing, told his girlfriend while at the Chesterton Police Department, "I killed that girl. I didn't mean to," according to the charging information.
"He indicated to her that the drugs had a hold of him," police have said.
The Indiana Appellate Court tossed out the confession, saying that police ignored the man's repeated requests for an attorney. Dillard requested an attorney three times during the nearly 11 hours he was held in a small interrogation room at the Chesterton Police Department, the court said in its 27-page ruling.
The Indiana Supreme Court then denied a request by prosecutors to consider reversing the state appellate court ruling.
Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter
Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.
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