Chesterton Tribune



Cell mate testifies Dillard said he blacked out

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A former cell mate of Christopher Dillard’s testified yesterday that Dillard told him details of the night Nicole Gland was murdered.

Nicholas Stone, who was incarcerated at Porter County Jail sharing a cell with Dillard for approximately 50 days from July to August in 2017, said Dillard described himself blacking out in anger on April 19, 2017. Stone testified Dillard said he came to, saw Gland had been stabbed, and left the scene.

Dillard has pled not guilty and is on trial accused of killing Gland in the early hours of April 19 behind the former Upper Deck Lounge at 139 S. Calumet Road, Chesterton, after she closed the bar. Gland had been a bartender there, and Dillard a bouncer.

Stone said Dillard told him that he met up with Gland outside the bar to do drugs in her SUV the night of the murder, and Dillard said he had been hoping for “sexual favors” in return for drugs. According to Stone, Dillard said he did use drugs in the car, then got angry when Gland would not perform the favors he expected. Dillard then told Stone that he “blacked out,” Stone said.

“He said he came to, and she had been stabbed. Then he got in his car and left,” Stone said. Stone said Dillard told him he was driving a truck at the time, didn’t mention a weapon, and headed to his girlfriend’s house when he left.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Armando Salinas asked Stone if he wanted to be in the courtroom yesterday. Stone said he had to miss work to testify, and would have rather been working. Stone said he was subpoenaed and not offered anything in exchange for his testimony.

On cross examination, Dillard’s defense attorney Russell W. Brown asked Stone if he knew about the murder before he was arrested and housed with Dillard. Stone had heard there was a murder at a bar in Chesterton because “it was all over the news,” but didn’t know the details, he said.

Brown asked Stone if he was in fact arrested in July 2017 and housed with Dillard starting July 29 that year. Stone said he was. Brown then asked if Stone had told police about Dillard’s claims in February 2019--Stone said yes.

“So, you just waited two years to make that statement?”, Brown asked. Stone said he didn’t volunteer the information, but was approached by police and questioned about Dillard at that time.

A Porter County Jail deputy was also called upon to testify about something Dillard said that caused him to file a report with his supervisor. Eric Roschi testified that on June 6, 2018, he was tasked with inspecting Dillard’s cell when he overheard Dillard talking. “He made a statement to his cell mate that he had no problem killing,” Roschi said. Dillard said this knowing Roschi was present and loud enough for other inmates to hear, according to Roschi.

As for Dillard’s condition the night of the murder, Indiana Department of Toxicology Forensic Scientist Robert Ruhl and the Department’s Quality Control Manager/Toxicologist Sheila Arnold spoke to the results of a test of Dillard’s blood.

Ruhl, who tested the sample, testified the sample tested positive for cocaine below the Department’s reporting threshold of 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood--Dillard’s blood showed only one nanogram per milliliter. However, the sample had a much higher concentration of benzoylecgonine, the metabolized form of cocaine, at 354 nanograms per milliliter. Dillard’s blood was negative for alcohol, Ruhl said.

Ruhl performs the tests, but said only a Toxicologist can interpret results, so the Prosecution next called Arnold. Arnold, who has a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology, has been the Department’s top official since 2014. She described the amount of cocaine detected in Dillard’s blood as ” trace level.”

Cocaine is metabolized and converted into benzoylecgonine between three and 12 hours after drugs are taken, Arnold said, and benzoylecgonine can be detected in the blood for up to 48 hours after cocaine has been metabolized. Arnold said Dillard’s blood was collected at 12:21 p.m. on April 20, 2017, according to the evidence label.

On cross, Brown asked Arnold if any other products break down into benzoylecgonine once ingested. Arnold said no, “Benzoylecgonine is a unique byproduct of cocaine.”

A witness testified Tuesday that Gland’s toxicology results were negative for both alcohol and illicit drugs.



Posted 10/31/2019




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