Updated: May 19, 2013 7:42AM
Man pleads guilty to attack involving gun, car, knife
A Gary man charged with attempted murder has pleaded guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Raymon L. Bell, 23, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in exchange for a sentence of 10 to 16 years in prison in a 2009 shooting.
Bell admitted he called Corey Chandler on May 15, 2009, to purchase something. Chandler picked up Bell and Bell’s cousin, Anthony Smith. While they were in Chandler’s car near 9011 E. 5th Avenue in Gary, Bell pulled out a gun and shot Chandler twice in his side as Chandler sat behind the wheel. Chandler jumped out and ran, with Bell and Smith chasing him.
As Bell continued chasing Chandler, Smith got into the driver’s seat of Chandler’s car, drove as he pursued Chandler and then struck him multiple times with the car. Bell caught up to Chandler after he was hit by the car and repeatedly kicked him. While Chandler was lying on the ground, Smith pulled out a knife and stabbed Chandler numerous times, ultimately lodging the blade of the knife in Chandler’s neck.
Chandler had numerous injuries from being shot, hit with his car, beaten, kicked and stabbed, including having a tracheal tube inserted. Chandler underwent 12 surgeries, was in intensive care for six weeks and still has two bullets lodged in his body.
Bell and Smith are charged with attempted murder and other felonies. Attempted murder is punishable by a sentence of 20 to 50 years. Bell’s sentencing hearing is July 2 before Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray, who took the plea under advisement.
Smith, 28, of Gary, is free on $2,000 bail he posted in August 2011, one month after his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.
Man says victim comes to his home
Phillip McDonald, 30, who appeared in Gary City Court last week claiming he’d had two heart attacks since he was arrested March 17, returned Wednesday after being released on a home monitor. He complained to Judge Deidre Monroe that the victim, who obtained a protective order against him after he allegedly battered her last month, continues to contact him.
“She been coming there ever since I been home,” he said. “Her car is at my house now.”
But Lake Deputy Prosecutor Rosie Lynch reminded the judge of his statements a week ago. “He said she was in the military and she was sitting in the audience.”
McDonald’s public defender, Cynthia Taylor, said her client is concerned about violating the court order.
Monroe scheduled his trial for June 26.
Don’t do drugs before court date
A Miller man arrested last fall and charged with visiting a common nuisance tested positive for cocaine and marijuana when he arrived at Gary City Court Wednesday morning, so the judge ordered him held without bond until his June 12 trial.
Vernon Henninger, 32, of 5625 E. 3rd Ave., was arrested with five other people during a raid by the Narcotics-Vice Unit at a house in Aetna Nov. 28.
“I don’t have a cocaine problem,” he told the judge. But when she read the arrest report, she noted that occupants of the house possessed cocaine.
Man asks judge for one more chance
Vonzell Griffin begged for another chance, telling Gary City Court Judge Deidre Monroe he would follow any requirements if she would just not send him to jail.
But the judge was adamant. “When you violate drug court, you have to do 30 days,” she said.
Griffin, 35, recently returned from Texas to address his outstanding criminal matters in Gary and Lake County.
“You tested real positive for marijuana. You should have cleaned up before you came back,” the judge told him.
Monroe said Griffin could be considered for work release.
He was arrested four years ago and charged with battery, false reporting and public intoxication. He agreed to complete a one-year drug court program, but dropped out and left the area.