Chesterton Tribune



Bar patron says Dillard told him Upper Deck bartenders 'would get theirs'

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A bar patron testified Friday that Christopher Dillard said, “Those bitches will get theirs,” in reference to the Upper Deck bartenders as Dillard was leaving Flannery’s Tavern hours before Upper Deck bartender Nicole Gland was murdered.

Justin Boothe, who used to frequent the Upper Deck Lounge, said he was down the street at Flannery’s Tavern at approximately 6 p.m. on April 18, 2017. Boothe testified that around 7 p.m., Dillard, who he knew as a bouncer at Upper Deck, walked into Flannery’s and seemed upset.

Dillard is on trial, accused of murdering Gland in the early hours of April 19, 2017, behind the Upper Deck after closing time.

“He was aggravated due to a situation he had at work,” Boothe said. Boothe added that Dillard seemed very agitated because of his tone of voice, and he seemed “shifty.”

According to Boothe, Dillard said he had gotten into trouble at Upper Deck, though he didn’t name a specific person who got him in trouble, and he said the situation was eroding a long-time friendship Dillard had with Upper Deck owner Jason Budzevski.

Boothe said Dillard wasn’t at Flannery’s long, and as Dillard was leaving, Boothe said he hoped things worked out, to which Dillard responded, “Yeah, those bitches will get theirs.”

The jury saw security footage from April 18 at Upper Deck. Boothe identified himself on the video and testified that he went to Upper Deck for about two hours after spending two to three hours at Flannery’s. There, he said he had about five drinks and talked to Gland, who he knew from several places where she had bartended. The video shows him taking out a bag of garbage for Gland as he left, which he testified he often did.

On cross examination, Dillard’s defense attorney Russell W. Brown asked Boothe if he had in fact met Gland though her father, Matthew Gland, and stayed in contact with the family since her death. Boothe said he had. Brown also asked if Boothe recalled what he said in his interview with Chesterton Police on April 21, 2017--specifically if it was true that Boothe never told CPD about the “get theirs” comment in that initial interview. Boothe said, “I don’t believe that’s correct.”

Boothe further said he’d be “really surprised” to watch the video of that interview and find that he hadn’t reported the comment to police at the time, so Brown requested a recess for Boothe to watch the interview tape.

When Boothe retuned to the witness stand, he said he had been shown the entirety of the tape of that interview, and he hadn’t reported the comment to CPD on April 21, though he did report it to a Portage Police detective who interviewed him in February 2019.

Brown asked Boothe, “Would you agree with me that your memory of that conversation was better three days after it happened?” Boothe responded that he hadn’t been totally honest with the detectives in the first interview. For one, he told them he didn’t know Dillard’s first name and only knew him as “Taco” the bouncer, though he testified Friday that he always called Dillard by his first name.

Brown asked if it was true Dillard had thrown Boothe out of Upper Deck multiple times. Boothe said, “Absolutely not. I’ve never once been removed from that bar.”

A juror, in a question submitted to Judge Jeffrey Clymer, asked Boothe if he told any of the bartenders what Dillard had said when he went to Upper Deck later that night. Boothe said no, but he asked Gland if she knew what was going on, and she didn’t. A juror also asked if, in the video, Gland could be seen handing Boothe his phone with something else on top of it before he left. Boothe said she just handed him his phone.

Testimony Friday focused on what happened at Upper Deck during Gland’s shift the night of her murder. The jury saw more footage from that night and heard from two more witnesses.

Linsdey Janiga, former Upper Deck bartender, testified she was at the bar with a date on Tuesday, April 18, one of her off days, from about 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. She identified herself on security footage that showed her sitting at the bar when Dillard walked in at 11:23 p.m.

Janiga said Dillard tried to order a drink from Gland, then Dillard and Gland stepped outside onto the back deck of the bar for a few minutes. After they spoke, Dillard left. Gland never served him a drink. It was odd for Dillard to come in on days he didn’t work, Janiga said, and he wasn’t scheduled to work April 18.

Janiga said she wasn’t concerned when Dillard and Gland stepped out of the bar, out of sight, but she did think it was strange Dillard was there when he wasn’t working. Janiga said she saw Gland’s car parked where the bartenders normally parked, in front of the bar’s dumpster, as she was leaving.

On cross examination, Brown asked Janiga if she observed a confrontation or argument between Dillard and Gland. Janiga said she hadn’t. Brown also asked if Dillard would typically greet the bartenders with hugs, to which the Prosecution objected. Judge Clymer upheld the objection on the grounds that the question wasn’t relevant.

Janiga also answered questions from the Prosecution about working at Upper Deck. She testified that the bartenders would park in front of the Upper Deck’s dumpster, close enough to it that they needed to back out to leave, and Janiga said she usually left the bar with about $200 in tips on a weekday and $300 on a weekend. Only one bartender worked on weeknights, she said, and Dillard never worked on weeknights--he would mainly check IDs on weekends.

The jury asked Janiga if she felt uncomfortable when Dillard came in that night. Janiga said she just “cowered down” because she knew things were about to get awkward when Dillard ordered a drink. She said knew Dillard was not to be served. The jury also asked Janiga why she thought it was odd for Dillard to be in on an off day when she was doing the same; she answered that she understood that Dillard was sober and was taking Antabuse, a medication meant to curb drinking dependence.

Later, Donald York testified he arrived at Upper Deck around 1:40 a.m. that night, left at closing time, and made small talk with Gland in between. He was the only patron in the bar in that time. He said he knew Gland because he drank at Upper Deck two or three times a week.

The Prosecution asked York what he saw as he left. York said there was a sports car and a two-door pick-up truck parked near him on Calumet Road. He was parked on the street slightly south of the Upper Deck entrance, he said. York described the truck as relatively new and green with at least a six-foot long bed with a built-in toolbox. He also said there was a shovel in the back of the truck.

York said Gland seemed like her normal self when he left, and he didn’t hear anything suspicious as he drove away.

York, an EMT, was the last patron to leave the bar. Security footage shows him still in work clothes leaving Upper Deck around 2:50 a.m. and Gland locking the door behind him before she headed out the back door to leave.


Posted 10/28/2019





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