CROWN POINT — One of several men charged with murdering a man inside a Gary gas station last month sat in a wheelchair Wednesday during his initial appearance and denied using a firearm during the alleged crime.
Willie A. Jones Jr., 20, who has addresses in Gary and Indianapolis, was shot in the leg during a melee about 3:15 a.m. Aug. 22 inside the Save gas station in the 4500 block of Broadway.
The fight led to the fatal shooting of Rayvon Harris, 29, of Gary.
Lake Criminal Court Magistrate Natalie Bokota asked Jones if he understood the charges against him, including murder and a firearm enhancement.
Jones replied, "But I didn't use a firearm."
Bokota quickly stopped him, saying he had a right to remain silent and should not volunteer any information.
Lake County Supervisory Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz said Jones lost a limb as a result of treatment for his gunshot wound.
The Lake County prosecutor's office would not object to Jones being fitted with a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet, so he can leave the Lake County Jail for rehabilitation, she said. Jones would not be granted bail under such an arrangement.
Bokota appointed a public defender to represent Jones.
The magistrate asked Jatkiewicz to discuss the issue of rehabilitation treatment with Jones' attorney and submit a written motion to presiding Judge Salvador Vasquez for approval.
Police suspect Jones and several co-defendants were looking for a fight the night they approached Harris inside the gas station.
Harris was pronounced dead at the gas station. Investigators found more than $12,000, marijuana, a scale and sandwich bags in a backpack Harris was carrying, court records show.
Jones and co-defendant Courtney Moss, 30, of Gary, were arrested after Moss dropped Jones off at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart because Jones had been shot, court records show.
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