Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Suspect in Nicole Gland murder implicated himself on tape, police say

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Christopher Mark Dillard

 

By KEVIN NEVERS

Christopher Mark Dillard—in a recorded interview room at the Chesterton Police Department, with full knowledge that he was being taped—admitted to his girlfriend that he killed Nicole Gland, a bartender at the Upper Deck Lounge.

That, from the probable cause affidavit filed today against Dillard, 50, of Hobart, who was arrested shortly after 12 p.m. Thursday and charged with Gland’s murder.

Copies of the affidavit were released this afternoon at a press conference at Chesterton Middle School.

Gland, 24, of Portage, was found deceased in her silver Ford SUV at approximately 9:10 a.m. Wednesday by a Chesterton Tribune employee arriving at work. She was slumped over in the front seat of her vehicle, which had come to rest against a dumpster and an old sofa located behind the Tribune building on Lois Lane, three doors south of the Upper Deck.

A forensic autopsy conducted early Thursday morning determined that Gland bled to death in her vehicle after being stabbed 24 times in the torso, neck, and head.

As the Tribune reported in today’s print edition, Dillard—described as a bouncer and doorman employed at the Upper Deck—became a person of interest later on Wednesday when his girlfriend, learning of Gland’s death, called the Hobart Police Department to report that “she recently noticed one knife missing from her butcher block,” as CPD Chief Dave Cincoski stated in his affidavit. The Hobart PD forwarded that information to the CPD, which dispatched an officer to speak with Dillard’s girlfriend and to place the butcher block and any remaining knives into evidence.

Dillard was subsequently located at an unspecified business in Hobart—in possession of his girlfriend’s 1997 Ford Ranger, which “a couple of days prior” she had reported missing and likely in Dillard’s unauthorized possession, Cincoski stated—and detained for questioning by the CPD

Cincoski began his interview with Dillard late on Wednesday. It continued into the “early morning hours” of Thursday. During the course of that interview, Dillard gave the following account of his actions in the hours before and after Gland’s body was discovered, according to Cincoski’s affidavit:

Dillard stated that he’d been “‘partying rough’ for the last two days.”

That at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday he went to the Upper Deck, not to work “but for the purpose of delivering cocaine and marijuana to Nicole Gland, based on a previously arranged plan.”

That on making contact with Gland he “retrieved her vehicle key from her and went outside to her car to place the drugs underneath the driver’s front seat.”

That, while sitting in the passenger’s seat, he cut a line of cocaine on a compact disc and snorted it, then returned to the Upper Deck to give Gland her keys back, not, however, locking the vehicle’s doors behind him because in fact “one of the locks is broken and not functioning.”

That, after returning the keys to Gland, he left the Upper Deck and went to another Chesterton tavern, where he believes he stayed “for a couple of hours but not late enough for ‘last call.”

That he then drove the Ford Ranger to a location in Portage which he declined to specify, to acquire drugs from a man whom he declined to identify, because the supplier is a “bad person.”

That he did not actually purchase the drugs but was “‘fronted’ the drugs for payment at a later date.”

That on returning to the Ford Ranger he found his cell phone and a “small amount of cash stolen,” although “he wasn’t certain when or how he lost his cell phone nor how much cash was stolen.”

From this point in the interview, Dillard’s answers became increasingly vague, Cincoski stated. “He then began to answer my questions saying things were ‘hazy’ and ‘I don't know’ and ‘I don't remember.’”

Investigators did determine, however, that at 6:53 a.m. Wednesday, Dillard placed a phone call to his girlfriend, in the course of which he told her, “I really (expletive) up, I don’t think you'll take me back,” Cincoski stated.

At some point, while still detained at the CPD station, Dilllard asked whether his girlfriend might be allowed to speak to him in the interview room, Cincoski stated. Arrangements were made for her to be transported to the CPD, and while the two were in the room together—both of them understanding that they were being recorded—Dillard told his girlfriend that “I killed that girl, I didn’t mean to,” Cincoski stated.

Dillard “indicated to her that the drug had a hold of him,” Cincoski stated. “The remaining conversation centered around whether (the girlfriend) would wait for him and stay by his side. At one point, he asked her to marry him and then laughed. He also told her that he owed a drug dealer $400 for some cocaine.”

Following Dillard’s conversation with his girlfriend, Cincoski re-entered the interview room and asked Dillard “to confirm with me that he had requested to speak with me again,” Cincoski stated. “I asked him what he wanted to talk to me about and he stated to me that he wanted to confess. Upon presenting him with a waiver of rights form as required, he asked if he could think about it, ultimately not speaking with me any further about the crime.”

Of the knife reported missing by his girlfriend, Dillard told Cincoski that he had taken it approximately two months earlier, “that he needed it for protection and kept it stored on the floor by the driver’s side of the truck.” When asked what happened to the knife, Dillard advised Cincoski that “he didn’t know but that the knife fell out of the truck at some point, indicating that it could have been today or it could have been a week ago.”

Dillard also advised Cincoski that sometime after leaving the casino, he changed his clothes but, Cincoski stated, Dillard “could not articulate why he changed his clothes.” Those clothes, Dillard stated, he left on the floor of the garage at the residence he shared with his girlfriend. “Officers were sent to that residence and did not locate any clothing in the garage,” Cincoski stated.

“When confronted with inconsistencies with his answers, Dillard would either respond ‘I don't know’ or ask ‘What did I tell you last time?’” Cincoski stated. “When pressed for answers, he would indicate that things were hazy from ‘partying rough.’”

At this afternoon’s press conference Cincoski said that it remains unclear whether Gland’s attacker was in her vehicle already or surprised her outside of it, when she closed the Upper Deck at approximately 2:51 a.m. Wednesday. Cincoski did indicate that Gland was probably dead by 3:45 a.m., at which time an unidentified witness reporting seeing her Ford SUV resting against the dumpster and the sofa behind the Tribune building. The witness evidently found nothing especially unusual or suspicious about the vehicle’s location, however, because the person didn't report seeing it until after the news broke of Gland’s death.

When asked by a reporter whether Dillard was aware that the conversation with his girlfriend was being recorded, Cincoski said that Dillard was aware. When asked whether he thought that Dillard’s admission of guilt, made to his girlfriend, would be admissible in court, Cincoski said that the issue was a matter for the officers of the court to decide.

Although the CPD’s investigation “has progressed very rapidly”—due in part to the efforts of multiple assisting law enforcement agencies and the work of the detectives assigned to the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force—much remains to be done, Cincoski said. “Please understand, just because a suspect has been charged the case and the investigation are ongoing and far from over.”

Among other things, investigators are searching for the murder weapon, personal effects belonging to Gland and missing from her vehicle, and the clothing which Dillard said he was wearing during the early morning hours on Wednesday.

Late this morning, officers with the Valparaiso Police Department were deploying a drone at the crime scene, on Lois Lane behind the Tribune building, while earlier in the morning Task Force officers were once again walking the scene and conferring.

Anyone with information on Dillard’s movements and activities in the hours before and after the discovery of Gland’s body is urged to call the CPD at (219) 926-1136.

Cincoski did express his “profuse” gratitude to the Task Force for its assistance during the investigation to date.

Posted 4/21/2017
 


 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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