Chesterton Tribune

Second man charged in murder of Brummitt janitor

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A second man has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting of Lenny Allan Bradley, a Brummitt Elementary School custodian whose body was found Oct. 29 in a cornfield just inside Porter County.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Police, Justin Ludwig, 19, has been charged with felony murder and criminal confinement. James A. Smith, 24—who police say shared a trailer with Ludwig in the same mobile home park in which Bradley lived—was charged with felony murder Oct. 31, the day after an autopsy determined the body to be Bradley’s and the same day Ludwig joined the U.S. Navy and began boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Base.

Bradley was last seen alive Sept. 29 in Michigan City and was believed to be on his way to the Blue Chip Casino. Porter County Coroner Roger Kleist has determined that Bradley—who police say lived close to Smith and Ludwig—died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

The break in the case came, police say, when Smith was arrested in Monroe, Mich., in possession of Bradley’s yellow 2001 Ford Mustang. He was extradited to LaPorte County on a warrant charging him with theft, and police say that investigators were able to develop information which led them to Bradley’s body.

Investigators then developed further information which led them to suspect Ludwig’s involvement in the homicide, police said, and based on two interviews with him at Great Lakes, conducted in conjunction with investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, and other evidence two warrants were issued for Ludwig’s arrest.

Ludwig was transported from the Lake County, Ill., Jail, where he had been detained after his discharge from the U.S. Navy, to the LaPorte County Jail. He is scheduled for arraignment Friday.

LaPorte County Sheriff James Arnold “praised the diligent and hard work of the detectives assigned to the case and also commended the U.S. Naval investigators for their assistance.”


Posted 12/12/2001