Jury finds man not guilty of Gary junk­yard mur­der

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News - By Becky Ja­cobs Post-Tri­bune re­ja­cobs@post-trib.com Twit­ter @ruthy­ja­cobs

A Mer­ril­lville man was found not guilty of mur­der in a Jan­uary shooting at a Gary junk­yard.

The jury reached its verdict Fri­day af­ter Michael Brown, 43, was on trial last week in Lake Su­pe­rior Court.

Brown was charged in Fe­bru­ary with mur­der, along with his co-de­fen­dant, Hil­lard Hath­away, 47, in the death of Danny Leake, 44, of Gary. Hath­away faces an ad­di­tional count of at­tempted mur­der.

Leake died Jan. 25 af­ter he was found shot in an empty lot near a junk­yard in the 1400 block of East 19th Av­enue, court records show.

Brown took the stand at his trial, his at­tor­ney, Scott King, said.

“I thought he was re­spon­sive to all the ques­tions, whether it was me, or the pros­e­cu­tor,” King said. “I just think he pre­sented him­self as he is, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, a very truth­ful guy.”

King said his client’s tes­ti­mony matched the ev­i­dence in the case.

“I was just grat­i­fied the jury, from out­ward ap­pear­ances, seemed very at­ten- tive and en­gaged,” King said.

Po­lice re­sponded to a call of shots fired around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 25, ac­cord­ing to a prob­a­ble cause af­fi­davit. A wit­ness said he and Leake had spent the day to­gether tow­ing ve­hi­cles, court records state.

When the wit­ness and Leake pulled up to “the yard” on 19th Av­enue, they saw a bur­gundy Sub­ur­ban with tinted win­dows and a black Mer­cury ve­hi­cle there, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

Hath­away was “taking the bat­ter­ies out of a semi truck,” so the wit­ness con­fronted him, the af­fi­davit states, and Hath­away claimed the truck be­longed to him.

The wit­ness re­layed that the owner of the lot said Hath­away and Brown “weren’t sup­posed to be in the yard,” ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

Shots were fired, re­sult­ing in Leake be­ing in­jured, court records show.

Hath­away’s crim­i­nal case re­mains on­go­ing. He is sched­uled for a hear­ing Dec. 11, ac­cord­ing to court records.

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