confessed to killing Nicole Gland in conversation with a former cell mate
and in phone calls recorded at the Porter County Jail, according to Chief
Deputy Prosecutor Armando Salinas.
This is one element
of evidence the jury will hear in the Prosecution’s case against Dillard as
his murder trial proceeds, Salinas said yesterday in opening arguments.
Dillard, 53, has
pled not guilty to the murder of Gland, 23. Gland and Dillard both worked at
the former Upper Deck Lounge at 139 S. Calumet Road in Chesterton, Gland as
a bartender, Dillard as a bouncer. Dillard has been held in Porter County
Jail since his arrest by Chesterton Police on April 20, 2017.
The day before,
Gland’s body was found directly behind the office of the Chesterton
Tribune when a Tribune employee arriving to work noticed Gland’s
SUV resting against a dumpster. A forensic autopsy later showed she had been
stabbed 24 times in the head, neck, and torso and suffered defensive wounds
to her hands and forearms.
Salinas said the
jury will hear, in Dillard’s own words, that the night Gland was killed,
“Everything was a haze,” “It was a blackout,” and “It was the drugs.” The
jury will also hear testimony that Dillard told a former cell mate that he
killed Gland after she refused to perform sexual favors in exchange for
In the coming days,
Salinas said witness testimony will speak to Dillard’s state of mind in the
hours leading up to and the day following the crime. Surveillance footage,
he said, in conjunction with testimony, will put Dillard in downtown
Chesterton the night of the murder and indicate that Dillard spoke to Gland
just hours before she was killed.
will call several civilians and first responders, a pathologist, a forensic
anthropologist, and an employee of the Indiana State Police lab to the
stand, and will present evidence that Dillard’s DNA was found on Gland’s
body and that a knife thought to be in Dillard’s possession at the time of
the murder is consistent with the type of weapon used against Gland.
The owner of the
former Upper Deck and Dillard’s girlfriend are slated to testify to
Dillard’s erratic behavior in the days and hours leading up to the murder,
which led the owner to tell Dillard to stay away from the bar the night
Gland was killed. Dillard showed up anyway, according to Salinas, and
surveillance footage shows he interacted with Gland.
witnesses will testify that Dillard spoke of a sexual desire toward Gland
prior to the murder; that he visited Danny O’s the night of the murder,
where he asked a bartender how much money she made and if she tended to walk
out to her car alone; and that he, on the night of the murder, told a patron
at Flannery’s Tavern that “the bartenders had ratted him out and were going
to get theirs,” Salinas said.
attorney, Russell W. Brown Jr., focused his opening statement on what the
jury won’t hear during the trial. “At no time during this trial are you
going to hear direct evidence that Mr. Dillard committed this offense,”
Brown said the
Prosecution will try to get the jury to “connect the dots” to find Dillard
guilty, but “those dots are few and far between.”
and surveillance footage, according to Brown, will indicate that Dillard was
wearing the same clothes the day after the murder as he was when he visited
the Upper Deck Lounge, Danny O’s, and Flannery’s the night before--save a
blue flannel shirt--and that his clothes were not bloody. Brown added that
Gland’s blood was not found in the truck Dillard purportedly drove the night
of the murder, and that camera footage from nearby businesses on Calumet
Road shows the movements of a Black Ford Ranger--not necessarily Dillard.
Brown countered that while Dillard’s DNA was found in Gland’s vehicle, DNA
from two unknown males was also found.
Brown said, will indicate the Chesterton Police Department failed to collect
surveillance footage of the area in Portage where they tracked Gland’s phone
the day after the murder and that a CPD detective “made the unilateral
decision” not to collect a knife found behind the Upper Deck Lounge in
September 2017 because he thought it wasn’t the right type of knife to be
the murder weapon. Brown said this evidence may have been relevant to the
case, thus CPD has deprived the jury of potentially exculpatory evidence.
that a slipshod investigation by CPD prompted Porter County Prosecutor Gary
German to form a special task force, led by Porter County Sheriff’s Police
Captain Jeff Biggs, to revisit the case upon German’s taking office in
The evidence that’s
not there will indicate that Dillard is a victim of the CPD’s
“incompetence,” Brown added.
“No doubt about it
Miss Gland is a victim. The second victim is her family and her friends
because they want justice for their loved one, but I think you’ll find the
third victim is Mr. Dillard,” Brown said.
The Defense’s focus
on CPD’s alleged incompetence comes on the heels of an Appeals Court ruling
that has raised ire in Duneland since a confession Dillard gave days after
the murder was deemed inadmissible on the grounds that Chesterton Police
Chief Dave Cincoski ignored Dillard’s requests for counsel three times in
the course of an 11-hour interrogation.
Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer took special precaution in selecting jurors
Monday after he twice denied earlier Defense requests to bring in an outside
jury or try Dillard in another county. The Defense argued on those occasions
that an impartial jury would be impossible to find in Porter County due to
media coverage of the case and stricken confession.
began at 9 a.m. and went until 7:15 p.m. Monday. A group of about 100
potential jurors was given a supplemental questionnaire gauging their
knowledge of the case and questioned by both the Prosecution and Defense
before attorneys settled on a jury.
The trial is
scheduled to last three weeks.