Man accused of murdering ex-civil servant wants speedy trial | Crime and courts

CROWN POINT — A judge on Thursday granted a request for a speedy trial for a man charged with murder in the shooting death of former area official Mary Felton.

Earl W. Shearer Sr., 67, who was allowed to take the witness stand in a previous hearing because he seemed unsteady on his feet, walked unaided to a podium in the gallery.

Shearer has pleaded not guilty to murder in the December 8 homicide of Felton, 74, of Gary.

Felton, an accountant who previously worked for the City of Gary, the Calumet Township Trustee’s Office and the Gary Housing Authority, her family remembered as their beloved matriarch.

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Shearer, who previously served time in Illinois for murder, is accused of sneaking into Gary de Felton’s home on December 6, raping her and killing her on December 8 after telling Gary police about the alleged rape.

Court records allege Shearer snuck into Felton’s Hummer while it was parked outside the police department and killed her after she left the station.

Felton was found dead from a gunshot wound to the back while still seated inside her Hummer near West Eighth Avenue and Lincoln Street in Gary.

Shearer’s attorney, Adam Tavitas, has asked Lake Criminal Court Judge Gina Jones to have Shearer’s jury trial begin on May 16.

Lake County Assistant District Attorney Bernard Johnsen said he and Assistant District Attorney Jessica Arnold have agreed on a trial date.

Jones granted the request and scheduled a preliminary hearing for April 21.

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