Jury finds Gary man guilty in fatal truck stop shooting
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent November 2, 2012 6:50PM
Updated: December 4, 2012 6:14AM
Lake Superior Court jurors deliberated about 90 minutes Friday before convicting a Gary man of murder in a 2010 shooting death outside a Gary truck stop.
Kevin Cortez Brown, 34, admitted to the habitual offender sentencing enhancement for convictions that include an armed robbery in Lake County and a firearms charge in federal court. He faces 45 to 65 years on the murder charge, plus 30 years for the habitual offender enhancement. Sentencing is Nov. 19 before Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr.
Deputy prosecutor Monica Rogina, who presented evidence with deputy prosecutor Angela Mattozzi, showed that Brown shot Vernale Givens, 28, three times — twice in the chest and once in the left shoulder area — on May 22, 2010, at the Steel City Truck Stop at Ripley Street and Melton Road in Gary. Jurors watched video surveillance that showed Givens, who worked in the tire repair business, stumbling into the convenience store before he collapsed on the floor.
Jurors heard Brown’s statement to police Detective Lt. Jack Arnold and Detective Jeffrey Hemphill in which he admitted he shot Givens. Brown claimed Givens had been following him and driving by his grandmother’s home after Brown was a confidential informant in a gun case involving Givens’ cousin, Bremiah Snyder.
Brown testified he saw Givens lift his shirt as if he were going for a gun, but police and other witnesses said Givens had no gun.