Final Pretrial Hearing Set for Murder Defendant


Next month’s murder trial for a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife at their rural California Township home last June is still on schedule. Gary Chavez is charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking. Police say he beat his wife Kimberly to death on June 6, 2014, drove to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and kidnapped an employee who was sitting in his car in the store parking lot. The two drove to English Lake where Chavez is accused of stealing another vehicle at gunpoint and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through LaPorte and Porter Counties. That vehicle broke down near Kouts, which is where Chavez allegedly stole a pickup truck at gunpoint from two men who stopped to help him. Police in Lake County deployed stop sticks on Interstate 65 near Crown Point in an attempt to end the pursuit. That’s when Chavez shot himself in the face. He spent two months in a Chicago hospital before being released to the custody of the Starke County Sheriff and has been jailed ever since.

The Starke County Prosecutor’s office and attorneys for Chavez have filed motions seeking to exclude evidence from the trial, which is set to start Monday, April 13 in Starke Circuit Court. Judge Kim Hall has set an April 8th hearing to consider those requests. Both sides advise they are ready for the trial, which could take up to two weeks. Chavez is due to have additional surgeries, but his attorney says they will not be done until after his trial concludes.