Bloody scene explained in 2011 Griffith woman’s murder
BY MICHAEL GONZALEZ AND RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspondents October 2, 2013 4:30PM
Robert Lewis III, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for killing a Griffith woman. | Provided
Updated: October 3, 2013 8:23PM
CROWN POINT — A Lake Superior Court jury Wednesday heard the details of the crime scene Gary police officers encountered when discovering the body of a Griffith woman in April 2011.
Jennifer Kocsis, then 37, was found, reportedly bludgeoned to death, behind the now-shuttered Riley Elementary School in the Glen Park section of Gary.
Robert Lewis III, 40, of Gary, faces life without parole if convicted of murder in perpetration of a robbery and murder in perpetration of criminal deviate conduct. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well as charges of murder, robbery, criminal deviate conduct and resisting law enforcement.
Public defender T. Edward Page is representing Lewis.
Former Gary patrolman Doug Geyer, now with the Crown Point Police Department, and Cpl. Daniel Quasney said they were the first responders to the scene April 2, 2011, after the police department received a call of a female victim on the scene.
Both officers described finding a the victim partially clothed, with blood pooled nearby and elsewhere on the scene.
Deputy prosecutor Catherine Breitweiser-Hurst, who is presenting evidence with deputy prosecutor Reginald Marcus, played surveillance footage showing Kocsis speaking with Ronald Sutton, karaoke DJ at Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant in Griffith. At about 2 a.m., Sutton said, Kocsis told him she was giving a guy a ride home and pointed toward a large black man wearing a white ball cap, white jacket with a blue chevron, jeans and white shoes, who has been identified in court as Lewis. Sutton said Kocsis told him the man lived on Elmer Street, just a short distance from her home in the 1000 block of Jay Street in Griffith.
Sutton said he left shortly after Kocsis, made a quick stop at a bar and then decided to drive by Kocsis’ home. Her car wasn’t there and the lights were off. Sutton said he tried calling and texting her but got no response, so he stopped at her home, knocked on the front and back doors and then drove up and down Elmer Street looking for her Chevrolet Malibu.
Sutton said he also made several phone calls to Griffith police, then called Kocsis’ ex-boyfriend.
Griffith police Sgt. Todd Dawes said he learned about 10 p.m. that Linda Carey, Kocsis’ mother, had reported her daughter missing. Chief Gregory Mance, who was a detective at the time, was walking by the radio room as he finished his shift and learned of the missing person report. Mance had been made aware earlier of a homicide victim found outside Riley School in Gary. Information on Kocsis’ physical identifiers and her tattoos was sent to the Lake County coroner’s office.
In other developments, the second of two alternate jurors was shifted to the regular jury panel, which now consists of eight men and four women. On Tuesday, one juror was excused when she realized she knew the victim’s family after seeing them in court.