Accused killer makes first court appearance
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent April 8, 2014 1:46PM
Abraham Bratcher / photo from Porter County Sheriff's office
Updated: May 10, 2014 6:26AM
VALPARAISO — The Valparaiso man accused of murdering a friend last week had his first day in court Tuesday via a video hookup and asked about getting a speedy trial.
Abraham M. Bratcher, 34, formerly of Kouts, also requested and received a public defender after telling Porter County Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford that he has had no income for 60 days.
Bradford entered a “not guilty” plea for Bratcher but did not set bail because that requires a separate hearing in murder cases. The judge told Bratcher that he should ask the public defender to file for a speedy trial.
Two people attended the hearing, including a woman who identified herself as a friend of both Bratcher and victim, Gerid W. Forste, 31, of Kouts.
Bratcher killed Forste April 2 at a Valparaiso apartment by shooting him with a rifle, prosecutors said.
They said the men got into a fight over Forste allegedly stealing Bratcher’s cologne and the rifle that belonged to the tenant, who was allowing Bratcher to stay at the apartment.
Both men had used alcohol and marijuana prior to the shooting, according to prosecutors.