Duo charged in connection with Portage homicide
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org November 13, 2012 12:51PM
Portage Police Chief Troy Williams (left) speaks during a press conference at the Portage Police Department in Portage, Ind. Tuesday November 13, 2012. Police have in custody Sheaurice Major (photograph at right) and are still searching for Dontaye Singletary (photograph at left) in the homicide of Carl Griffith, Sr. Also pictured are Det. Cpl. Janis Regnier (right) and Det. Cpt. Joe Reynolds (second from right). | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 15, 2012 6:19AM
PORTAGE — Prosecutors charged a Portage woman and Gary man with conspiring to murder 72-year-old Carl Griffith Sr., who was shot to death outside his Portage home on Nov. 1.
Sheaurice Major, 42, and Dontaye D. Singletary, 20, face murder and solicitation of murder charges. Major was arrested Friday night at the Portage Police Department, and she is being held at the Porter County Jail without bond. Police have a warrant for the arrest of Singletary, and police and the U.S. Marshals Service are searching for him.
Griffith was killed while getting his mail around 8:05 p.m. at his house in the 2700 block of Locust Street. Police found 7.62-by-39 shell casings in the yard, which are consistent with an AK-47 style weapon, Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said. Immediately after the shooting, a neighbor saw the gunman run to the corner of Hickory and Concord, where he entered a black car that had been parked there for about two hours. The car’s driver — a woman — drove north then west on Central Avenue.
Griffith worked at Affordable Towing of Gary, which Major co-owns with her estranged husband Ronnie Major. Ronnie Major served 10 months in prison before being released to Lake County Community Corrections in February; he could have his probation revoked at a Thursday hearing. Affordable impounds vehicles for the Gary Police Department.
Earlier on Nov. 1, Griffith reported to Gary Police that he and another driver were shot at in the Glen Park neighborhood when they were called by a woman to pick up a Lexus. Police discovered that Singletary told the woman to call Affordable Towing about towing a Lexus on Kentucky Street. She said Singletary is a member of the Vice Lords gang.
The affidavit states that investigators were able to determine that Singletary made several cell phone calls near the time of Griffith’s shooting in Portage.
While interviewing Major, they asked her if she recognized any of the numbers Singletary called, and she said one woman was in her contact list. While looking for the woman, Major called police asking them why they are looking for the woman. Police spoke to the contact’s husband, who said she was driving a black rental car with Illinois plates. She traded in the black car for another car on Monday.
The woman told police that Major and she are friends and frequently have “girly girl” nights.
On Nov. 9, the woman showed up at the Portage Police Department with an attorney. A week prior to Griffith’s murder, Major said that she wanted Griffith messed up and wondered if she knew anyone. The woman arranged for Singletary and Major to get in touch with each other. On Nov. 1, Major told the woman to wait at the corner of Hickory and Concord for Dontaye, who called her prior to the shooting to find out where she was located.
Singletary ran up to the car, saying “get me the (heck) out of here,” and the woman dropped him off across from the Steel Yard, near where Singletary’s mother lives.
A half hour after she dropped Singletary off, Major called and asked her to return to Portage to get money for Singletary. Major gave her $200 in a sealed envelope, which the woman delivered to him.
On Nov. 9, Major said the woman returned to her home on Nov. 1, but only to pick up “an order of pot.”
Griffith’s son, Carl, was relieved to hear about the charges, and it didn’t surprise him to hear that Major was involved.
“Sheaurice is the one who has been causing all of the problems,” Griffith said. “Her husband was locked up and my dad helped him get out, and I guess she didn’t like it.”