Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Another man charged in 2019 double murder

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A Hamlet, Ind., man was arrested Saturday on two counts of murder in perpetration of robbery, in connection with the murder of two Lake County teenagers in February 2019.

John Salvatore Silva II, 19, is being held without bond on those charges at the Porter County Jail.

A Center Township man, Connor Railand Kerner, 19, remains jailed at PCJ on two murder charges in connection with the incident.

On March 2, 2019, the bodies of Thomas Grill, 19, of Cedar Lake, and Molley Lanham, 19, of St. John, were found in a burnt-out car in rural Hebron. Subsequent investigation led to Kerner’s being charged with their murders and waived into adult court--he was 17 at the time--after a confidential source reported that Kerner had admitted killing the boyfriend and girlfriend in his grandparents’ garage in Hebron, allegedly during a drug deal.

According to the confidential source, on Feb. 25, 2019, with Lanham waiting in the car, Kerner and Grill went into the garage, where Kerner shot at Grill, missing him twice, then hitting him, and then as Grill begged for his life beat him with a pipe wrench until he was dead. Kerner next left the garage, asked Lanham to accompany him back, and when they were inside the garage shot her in the back of the head. Kerner then put the two bodies in their car, loaded it with three propane cylinders and four bottles of tiki fluid, drove it to a wooded area, ignited it, and walked back to his grandparents’.

Silva, Kerner’s friend, initially denied being at the Kerner’s grandparents’ during the murder but subsequently advised that he accompanied Kerner there on the day of the murders, Feb. 25, and that he took a seat in the basement to wait. He then heard six shots and Kerner’s yelling for him, and on entering the garage saw Lanham lying “motionless face down” and Grill “still alive making noise.” Silva began wiping up blood as instructed by Kerner, while Kerner himself began striking Grill with the pipe wrench. Silva advised that he then assisted Kerner in cleaning the scene and that they later left together in Kerner’s Jeep. Before being dropped off, Silva told investigators, he saw Kerner with a handgun which Kerner identified as a CZ9, which proved to belong to Kerner’s grandfather. Silva advised “that he had never seen this gun before nor has he ever touched it.”

Police said, however, that Silva’s DNA profile was found by the Indiana State Police lab on the CZ9’s handgun grip, trigger, and slide.

Meanwhile, two persons interviewed by the PCSP stated that Silva later told them that, during the ride to Kerner’s grandparents’ house, Kerner was “fixated on robbing ‘them’ and wanted Silva to kill ‘them,’” police said. One of those persons specifically stated that Silva “told him that after he and Kerner left (Valparaiso High School to go to Kerner’s grandparents’) Kerner was playing the song ‘Last Memory’ and that (Kerner) told him that ‘this is going to be that kid’s last memory.’”

“I want to commend the work of our Criminal Investigations Division and the Prosecutor’s Office, for working tirelessly since we learned of this tragedy,” Sheriff Dave Reynolds said on Saturday. “I also again want to send my sincere condolences to the families of Thomas Grill and Molley Lanham. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

 

 

Posted 4/26/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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