Kevin Campbell, Tiara Thomas

Kevin Campbell, Tiara Thomas

VALPARAISO — When Kevin Campbell heard the news that the mother of three of his children had been fatally shot, he immediately asked about the whereabouts of her current fiance, according to testimony Tuesday morning.

"I could see him and he started asking, 'Where was Marqtell (Robinson),'" said Herbert Smith Jr., uncle to the deceased Tiara Thomas.

When asked by Porter County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost whether Campbell looked distraught, Smith replied, "It didn't look like it to me."

The testimony came as prosecutors prepare to wrap up their case against Campbell, 33, who is charged with murdering 30-year-old Thomas on Nov. 18, 2015, at the Portage Park Place apartment she shared with her fiance and the three children she had with Campbell. Prosecutors have said the couple's relationship had deteriorated to the point of a "contentious breakup" and Campbell's child support obligation was increased to $1,400 a month shortly before the killing.

Smith said he observed Campbell's initial reaction to the news as the family was gathered at Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary where Thomas was taken following the shooting.

Smith also told jurors he overheard Thomas arguing with Campbell on the telephone just days before her death. Thomas worked for Smith at ICU Monitoring in Merrillville.

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"When she came out of the room, she was complaining about him," he said.

Smith said he had never seen any violence between Campbell and Thomas, but they had issues involving child support.

"That appeared to be an ongoing issue," he said.

Jurors were dismissed early Tuesday as a result of the prosecutor's final witness being delayed by a personal issue. The trial is expected to resume Wednesday morning with that witness, followed by the defense starting its case.

Police believe Campbell shot Thomas sometime between 4:37 and 5:55 a.m., then took their three children to school. While Campbell told police he took his son straight to school, his son reportedly told investigators his father stopped at Columbus Park in Lake Station and discarded a bag.

Court documents indicate Campbell kept the three children overnight at his home in Hobart the night before Thomas was killed, and that Campbell allegedly requested his oldest child bring him a key to the apartment nearly two weeks before the homicide.

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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.