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Singletary gets new public defender in Gary murder
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Singletary gets new public defender in Gary murder

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CROWN POINT — A man who already has been convicted in a murder-for-hire case from Porter County was assigned a new public defender to represent him in a separate pending murder case in Lake County.

Dontaye Singletary appeared Thursday in front of Judge Pro Tem Thomas Vanes. Public defense attorney Samuel Vazanellis entered his appearance as Singletary’s new attorney.

Vazanellis told Vanes he has to review the case and asked for a status hearing to be set for May 26. Singletary did not say anything during the hearing.

Vazanellis is the third public defense attorney to represent Singletary. He was previously represented by defense attorney Alexander Woloshansky.

Earlier this month, Woloshansky told the court communication between him and Singletary had broken down, which lead him to ask the public defender’s conflicts division to assign a new attorney.

Singletary, 24, is one of six people charged in the Aug. 16, 2010, homicide of Franklin Simmons, 61. Simmons was shot 10 times during a robbery at his Gary home, which was known as a lottery house where people visited to gamble.

Prosecutors filed charges against the group in May 2013. Charges in the murder are also still pending against Jamell J. Brooks, Antoine J. Gates, Robert E. Johnson III, Rashaad D. McNair and Diana M. Veal.

Singletary already faces 65 years in prison after a Porter County jury found him guilty of shooting to death Carl Griffith Sr., 72, on Nov. 1, 2012, shortly after Griffith returned to his Portage home. Police believe he was hired to carry out the homicide.The Court of Appeals has upheld Singletary’s conviction. The Indiana Supreme Court in March unanimously refused to hear an appeal for the conviction.

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