(AP) - A Northwest Indiana man convicted of fatally shooting two teenagers
during a drug-related robbery was sentenced on Tuesday to 179 years in
A Porter County
jury found Conner Kerner, 19, of Valparaiso, guilty in October of charges
including two counts of murder and murder in perpetration of a robbery.
allegedly confessed to a then-girlfriend that he had killed 18-year-old
Thomas Grill of Cedar Lake and 19-year-old Molley Lanham of St. John in
February 2019 in the attached garage of his maternal grandparents’
the target in the robbery that led to the killings was $20,000 to $50,000
worth of THC cartridges.
Kerner showed no
obvious reaction to the sentence but said he intends to appeal, The
(Northwest Indiana) Time reported.
mother of Thomas Grill, looked down at Kerner and accused him of attempting
to erase her son and Lanham. “You erased your life, Conner,” she said.
mother of Lanham, said she is still numb nearly two years after her
daughter’s killing. “I am now the mother of a murdered child,” she said.
Kerner will be
required to serve 75 percent of the term--or more than 134 years--before
being eligible for parole.
sentencing, Porter County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Germann told the
Chesterton Tribune, “There are now three families who lost a child to
this incident, two of whom will not be physically present in the lives of
their loved ones. From a community standpoint I hope everyone realizes how
much work went into this case by so many people, particularly Armando
Salinas and Chris Hammer from our office and Brian Dziedzinski and the
entire Porter County Sheriff’s Department. Because of their hard work our
entire community is much safer. I cannot thank them enough for the hours and
hours of hard work leading up to and during the trial. In the end the
sentence was totally justified by the facts and the law.”
Last week, Kerner’s
mother, Rozann Kerner, 47, of Chesterton, was booked into the Porter County
Jail on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury, and false informing.
Investigators said that Roxann Kerner sent police what she intended to be an
anonymous email tip pointing the finger at another man as the gunman. Her
tip said that the man in question used to live with her son and knew where
Connor Kerner’s grandparents kept the spare keys to their Hebron home. The
email also claimed that Grill owed that man thousands of dollars and that
during a confrontation in the garage, Grill shot Lantham before the other
man grabbed a second gun and shot Grill.
that they were able to trace the email tip back to Roxann Kerner, despite
her using a Virtual Private Network in an attempt to hide her IP address.
According to the charges against her, investigators said they were able to
do this because she used the same VPN when signing on to an inmate
communication system to communicate with her son at the Porter County Jail.