Chavez Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

 Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall sentenced the Knox man convicted last month of murdering his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and carjacking an English Lake couple last June to 105 years in prison with no time suspended. Continue reading

Chavez Sentencing Scheduled Today

 The Knox man convicted last month of murdering his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and carjacking an English Lake couple last June will learn his fate today. Gary Chavez is due in Starke Circuit Court for a sentencing hearing this morning. A jury of eight men and four women returned guilty verdicts after about 90 minutes of deliberations. Defense attorney David Welter argued unsuccessfully for a conviction of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kimberly Chavez of Portage and of auto theft instead of carjacking. Continue reading

Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts Against Chavez

 A jury of eight women and four men deliberated for about 90 minutes Friday night before returning guilty verdicts against Gary Chavez. He’s the Knox man accused of murdering his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez of Portage, at his rural California Township home last June 6th, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and carjacking a couple in English Lake. Continue reading

Murder Defendant Testifies, Closing Arguments Anticipated This Afternoon

 The fate of a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and stealing another vehicle in English Lake will soon be in the hands of a jury. Closing arguments are anticipated later today in the trial of Gary Chavez.

He was the lone witness for the defense and offered an often emotional account of his relationship with victim Kimberly Chavez. He said he felt “totally different” from the first time he went out with her and described their marriage as happy, affectionate and loving. Chavez admitted they argued about her son and some about money toward the end of their relationship. According to him they separated for 35 days about a decade into their marriage but reconciled and all was forgiven. Continue reading

State Rests in Murder Trial, Chavez Testimony Expected Tomorrow

 The state has rested its case in the trial of a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife. Defendant Gary Chavez is expected to take the stand tomorrow morning as a witness for the defense. He’s also charged with kidnapping and carjacking in connection with the events that occurred on June 6, 2014. The Starke County Sheriff’s Office got a 911 call at 3:37 that afternoon from a man in English Lake reporting a carjacking. Earlier testimony indicates that’s where Chavez left kidnapping victim Bryant Wagner when his car ran out of gas. Det. Rob Olejniczak from the Starke County Sheriff’s Office testified that based on information from Wagner he went to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and found the pickup truck Chavez left in the parking lot. Continue reading

State Could Rest in Murder Trial Today

 The state could wrap up its case this afternoon against a Knox man charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking. They’ve called 12 witnesses so far to testify against Gary Chavez. He’s accused of killing his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, at his rural Knox home last June 6th, driving his pickup truck to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center, kidnapping an employee at gunpoint, driving his car to English Lake and stealing a Jeep Grand Cherokee from a couple there. Continue reading

Murder Defendant Intends to Testify During Trial

  Murder defendant Gary Chavez plans to testify in during his jury trial in Starke Circuit Court. Defense attorney David Welter told Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall this morning that is his client’s intention. Chavez does have the right to change his mind at any time. Continue reading

Doctor to Testify in Chavez Murder Trial

 The doctor who did the autopsy on a Portage woman who was found dead at a rural Knox home last June is scheduled to testify today in the murder trial of her accused killer. Gary Chavez is charged with murder in connection with his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez’, death. He is also charged with kidnapping and carjacking in connection with other incidents that occurred on June 6, 2014. Several police officers and evidence technicians are also on today’s witness list. Continue reading

Kidnapping Victim Testifies in Chavez Trial

 The Knox man who claims he was kidnapped from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center last June by a murder suspect was the first witness to testify in his trial. Gary Chavez is also on trial for kidnapping and carjacking stemming from a June 6, 2014 incident. He’s accused of stabbing his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at his rural California Township home, driving to Mark Bailey’s and kidnapping employee Bryant Wagner at gunpoint as he sat in his 2005 Monte Carlo in the store parking lot. Continue reading

Opening Arguments Scheduled Today in Starke County Murder Trial

 The state will begin presenting its case today against the Knox man who is accused of killing his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and stealing a car from a couple in English Lake. Gary Chavez is on trial for murder, kidnapping and carjacking in connection with the June 6, 2014 incidents. His trial started yesterday with jury selection, which took the entire day. Continue reading

Murder Trial on Schedule in Starke Circuit Court

Gary Chavez is charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking in Starke County. Investigators say he killed Kimberly Chavez of Portage on June 6th, drove his personal vehicle to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center on State Road 10 and kidnapped an employee. From there Chavez allegedly drove to English Lake where he’s accused of stealing another vehicle at gunpoint. Continue reading

Surgery Delays Murder Trial, Prompts Reevaluation of Jail Medical Contract

  A murder trial scheduled to start April 13 in Starke Circuit Court has been pushed back to at least July so the defendant can have surgery deemed medically necessary by a provider under contract with the county. Gary Chavez is accused of beating his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at their rural California Township home last June. From there police say he drove to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center, kidnapped an employee and drove to English Lake where he’s accused of stealing a second vehicle. Chavez then led police on a high-speed chase into LaPorte and Porter Counties, according to court records. He’s accused of stealing a third vehicle in Kouts and continuing into Lake County. Police there say Chavez shot himself in the face when officers in Crown Point managed to stop his vehicle. He was airlifted to a Chicagoland area hospital and released to the custody of the Starke County Sheriff last August. Chavez remains in jail. Continue reading

Final Pretrial Hearing Set for Murder Defendant

Next month’s murder trial for a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife at their rural California Township home last June is still on schedule. Gary Chavez is charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking. Police say he beat his wife Kimberly to death on June 6, 2014, drove to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and kidnapped an employee who was sitting in his car in the store parking lot. The two drove to English Lake where Chavez is accused of stealing another vehicle at gunpoint and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through LaPorte and Porter Counties. That vehicle broke down near Kouts, which is where Chavez allegedly stole a pickup truck at gunpoint from two men who stopped to help him. Police in Lake County deployed stop sticks on Interstate 65 near Crown Point in an attempt to end the pursuit. That’s when Chavez shot himself in the face. He spent two months in a Chicago hospital before being released to the custody of the Starke County Sheriff and has been jailed ever since. Continue reading

Murder Defendant Out of Hospital, Jailed Without Bond

Starke County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 6, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 6, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

The rural Knox man accused of beating his wife to death, kidnapping a man from a business parking lot, stealing a Jeep at gunpoint in English Lake and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through three counties before shooting himself is back in Starke County. Detective Rob Olejniczak from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department and Jailer Joshua Kazee picked Gary Chavez up from the Cook County, Ill. jail today. Continue reading

Starke County Prosecutor Files Three Charges Against Chavez

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff has filed three felony charges against the Knox man accused of stealing two cars in Starke County and a third in Hebron before shooting himself when police in Lake County used stop sticks to end a high-speed chase Friday afternoon. Continue reading

Charges Expected Today Against Carjacking Suspect

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff hopes to file formal charges today against the Knox man accused of stealing two cars and leading police on a high speed chase Friday afternoon. Police say Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, commandeered the first car in the Mark Bailey’s Discount Center parking lot at 3:41 p.m. He switched vehicles in English Lake, according to authorities, and left the owner of the first stolen car behind when he took a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Continue reading

Coroner Releases Preliminary Autopsy Results in Chavez Death

The estranged wife of the Knox man accused of stealing three vehicles and leading police on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon was murdered. Kimberly Chavez, 50, of Portage, was found dead Friday evening at the home of her estranged husband, Gary. Continue reading

Porter County Prosecutor Files Charge Against Chavez

Gary Chavez is accused of stealing this 1988 GMC Sierra pickup truck from two men in Hebron Friday afternoon.

Gary Chavez is accused of stealing this 1988 GMC Sierra pickup truck from two men in Hebron Friday afternoon.

The first of several charges has been filed against the Knox man police say stole two cars in Starke County Friday afternoon, led police on a high-speed chase, stole a third vehicle in Porter County and shot himself after officers in Lake County used stop sticks to flatten the tires of the truck he was driving. Gary Chavez, 57, is still in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. Continue reading