Suspect in ’80 cop killing found incompetent
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent April 1, 2014 1:40PM
Updated: May 3, 2014 6:14AM
One of three men charged in the 1980 shooting of a Hammond police officer during a robbery has been found incompetent to stand trial.
Larry Mayes, 64, of Portage, was ordered to report to court next week to be sent to Logansport State Hospital for 90 days.
Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez said Mayes could be there a shorter time or longer time for Indiana Department of Mental Health authorities to determine whether Mayes can regain competency and stand trial. Defense attorney Scott King said his client suffered a stroke.
Mayes, Pierre Catlett, 63, and James Hill, 51, of Gary, were charged in June 2012 with murder in the shooting death of Larry Pucalik during a robbery attempt on Nov. 14, 1980, at the Holiday Inn, 3830 179th St., Hammond, where Pucalik was off-duty and working security. No money was taken.
The case was reopened in early 2011 by the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force, which re-interviewed and took recorded statements from all the witnesses that could be located.
Mayes and Hill have been free on $10,000 cash bond since August 2012. Hill’s case, which was set for trial, was dismissed last week at the discretion of the prosecutor’s office. The murder charge can be refiled.
Catlett is serving a prison sentence at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Ill.
Mayes’ rape and robbery conviction from Nov. 17, 1980, kidnapping and sexual assault of a gas station clerk was overturned due to a lack of DNA evidence and circumstances surrounding the hypnosis of the clerk. Hill was granted post-conviction relief because of due process discovery violations.