Starke County Murder Trial Still on Schedule for July


The murder trial for a Knox man accused of beating his estranged wife to death at their rural California Township home last June is still on schedule for late July. Gary Chavez was scheduled to stand trial last month, but the proceeding was canceled at the last minute due to what a jail physician deemed an urgent surgical procedure.

Chavez is also accused of kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and driving to English Lake, where police say he stole another vehicle at gunpoint and fled. Police from multiple agencies joined in the high-speed chase through Starke, LaPorte, Porter and Lake Counties which ended on Interstate 65 near Crown Point when officers managed to disable a third vehicle Chavez allegedly stole in Kouts. He shot himself in the face as officers were approaching and has been undergoing medical treatment since.

Starke County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan advised during a status hearing the state should be able to present its case in five days. Jury selection will begin Monday, July 27 and should take a day. Defense counsel advised they will need about a day to call witnesses. Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall called the timeline a “best guess” and said he will leave two weeks blocked out for the trial. He also asked the attorneys to advise the court as soon as possible if any scheduling conflicts come up.