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Valpo murder trial delayed, talks underway among attorneys
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Valpo murder trial delayed, talks underway among attorneys

John Williams

John Williams

VALPARAISO — A Valparaiso murder trial set to get underway later this month has been postponed as negotiations continue between the defense and prosecutors.

"We are working very diligently on this case," defense attorney Mark Chargualaf told the court Friday morning.

The delay, which was requested by both sides in the case, was made to allow more time for transcripts to be prepared from interviews with witnesses, Chargualaf said. The new trial date is Nov. 29 with a preliminary hearing Oct. 29.

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. 

The defendant in the case, 28-year-old John Williams, told Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer that he agreed to the delay.

Williams is accused of holding down and battering a man Jan. 29, 2020, at the man's Valparaiso apartment while his friend, Travis Thompson, searched the unit for marijuana and THC wax, police said.

During the encounter, the man being held down grabbed a knife and while targeting Williams, wound up stabbing Thompson, 36, of Valparaiso, according to police.

After making a failed attempt to get Thompson into his vehicle, Williams and a woman drove away, leaving him behind and bleeding profusely in the 700 block of Elm Street, police said. Police and paramedics were unable to revive Thompson and it was later determined he died as a result of blood loss caused by a stab wound on his upper left leg that severed the femoral artery.

Valparaiso man faces murder charge months after alleged crime partner's death

Williams is charged with murder, two counts of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, two counts of robbery resulting in bodily injury, aggravated battery when assault poses a substantial risk of death, two counts of robbery and one count of battery resulting in serious bodily injury, court records show.

A habitual offender enhancement was also filed against Williams, which claims he had three or more unrelated felony convictions prior to this most recent case.

Police said they learned during their investigation that Williams and the woman "discussed taking Thompson's body to an abandoned residence in Gary, however, they did not, based upon how fast he expired."

The woman with Williams later told police they discarded the clothes Williams was wearing on a burn pile. The clothes were later retrieved by police.

A witness reportedly told police Williams and Thompson went to the apartment without money and with the intention of stealing drugs.

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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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