Officers tell jurors about Gary shooting where 3 were later found dead
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent January 10, 2013 7:02PM
Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 12, 2013 2:34PM
A police supervisor called to an apartment complex where shots were fired and three people ultimately were killed recounted the arrival of two unidentified men during a tense standoff with officers.
The testimony came in the fourth day of evidence in the capital murder trial of Kevin Charles Isom, 47, who is charged with three counts of murder in the 2007 deaths of his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and stepchildren Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13. Isom also is charged with attempted murder of three Gary officers, including police Lt. Thomas Pawlak.
Pawlak said the two men pulled up across the street from 5708 Hemlock Ave., in the Miller section, got out of the car and ran into the middle of the street. The men appeared excited and upset and were jumping up and down and waving their arms, Pawlak said.
“They said, ‘Kevin, what are you doing? Stop this s---,’ ” Pawlak recalled.
His testimony came after hours of hearings outside the presence of the jury in which deputy prosecutors David Urbanski and Michelle Jatkiewicz and defense attorneys Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey presented case law and argued whether the comments were admissible under the criminal rules of evidence.
Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. eventually ruled in favor of prosecutors, who also elicited testimony from Pawlak that the men had identified themselves as cousins of Isom. Pawlak said the men told him Isom lived there with his wife and her children and that he had been depressed recently after losing his job.
Pawlak said the men arrived a couple minutes after he heard a second shot fired inside the first-floor apartment. Pawlak told them to get back, but the men ignored him. Pawlak said he escorted them to safety behind a parked car.
During more than 90 minutes of cross-examination by Shaps, Pawlak said he never asked the men their names.
With the jury excused from the courtroom, Urbanski said prosecutors had attempted to speak with the men, but were told by Isom’s prior defense attorney, the late Nick Thiros, that the family would not cooperate with the investigation and to leave them alone.
On the stand, Pawlak said the men told him that Isom’s mother lived in the same Lake Shore Dunes apartment complex and ran to get her to see if she could help diffuse the situation.
The men ran east on Hemlock Avenue. Meanwhile, Pawlak directed Gary police Patrolman Peter Baum, who also was crouched behind the car while Pawlak was speaking with the men, to follow the men and ask them for a description of Isom.
While Baum was making his way east on Hemlock Avenue, he testified shots were fired in his direction. “I heard glass breaking and I heard debris, something hitting the street in my close proximity,” Baum said. Five or six shots were fired, he said. “I heard wood and branches being struck off of the trees until I made it to the vehicle,” he said, referring to a police car that was parked east of where he had taken cover.