Gary man’s trial begins in 2011 murder case
BY RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspondent September 30, 2013 5:48PM
Updated: September 30, 2013 10:50PM
Jury selection began Monday in Lake Superior Court in a murder trial of a Gary man who faces life without parole if convicted of the killing a Griffith woman who offered to give him a ride home from a restaurant.
Jurors were quizzed as to their ability to consider a possible sentence of life without the possibility of parole if they convict Robert Lewis III of killing Jennifer Kocsis, 37.
Deputy prosecutors Catherine Breitweiser-Hurst and Reginald Marcus must prove Lewis killed Kocsis intentionally while robbing or attempting to rob her and while committing or attempting to commit criminal deviate conduct.
Kocsis had been at Pepe’s in Griffith around 1:15 a.m. April 2, 2011, where she participated in karaoke, singing two songs, the probable cause affidavit states. At about 1:30 a.m., Kocsis told the karaoke host she was going to give a guy a ride home, court records state. A witness saw Kocsis get into her car with a man. Her body was found April 2, 2011, outside the closed Riley School in Gary. Kocsis died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest.
Breitweiser-Hurst also asked potential jurors whether they would be able to view gory photographs during the trial. Jurors are instructed that they must look at each piece of evidence.
Lewis has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, murder in perpetration of criminal deviate conduct, murder in perpetration of robbery, robbery, criminal deviate conduct and resisting law enforcement. The life without parole sentencing enhancement request was filed about two months after Lewis was charged.