Chesterton Tribune

Accused double murderer claims gang membership

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The Hammond man accused of shooting two people to death last week at a Center Township home has claimed membership in a gang, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said.

Sgt. Larry LaFlower told the Chesterton Tribune today that Julius Jovan Garza, 19, told investigators that he’s a member of the Two Six gang—also 26, TS, Gangster Two Six, and GTSN—a chiefly Hispanic gang based in the Chicago area with members also in East Chicago and Hammond, according to ChicagoGangs.org

A search warrant issued this week permitted investigators to examine a Kodak Easyshare camera found at the scene in Garza’s Lincoln Navigator, on the grounds that gang members frequently take photos of themselves holding weapons, drugs, or cash, LaFlower said.

An AK-47 recovered 93 feet from the home—and believed to have been used to kill Jeffery Trinka, 40, in the doorway of his residence—was determined to have been purchased by Garza on Nov. 9, 2011, police have said.

Another search warrant issued this week permitted investigators to check for gunshot residue on the clothing of a man walking less than a half-mile from Trinka’s home at 1558 W. Lincolnway on the night of the murders, LaFlower said.

The man is not in custody and hasn’t been charged with anything but LaFlower said that his account of his activities on the night in question hasn’t been wholly confirmed.

On the strength of a search warrant issued in the early hours of the investigation—for drugs and paraphernalia, among other things—investigators discovered a marijuana grow-operation at the murder scene, in a room off the kitchen, and multiple marijuana plants, LaFlower said.

Also slain was Jennifer Guinn, 31, of Hammond. She was found mortally wounded in the living room, shot three times with a .25 caliber pistol found in a grassy area on the east side of the home.

Garza, for his part, advised police that he was visiting the home, heard a knock on the door, and hid in the bedroom, where he heard gunshots, a “male white” saying “You better not be calling the cops,” a female saying that she wasn’t, and then more gun shots.

But police said that there is no male voice heard in the background of the 911 call which Guinn made and that Guinn spoke to no one besides the dispatcher during that call.

Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper has set trial for Sept. 17.

 

Posted 4/14/2012