former Chesterton Tribune press operator, testified Wednesday that he
knew something was wrong right away when he discovered a vehicle pushed up
against a dumpster behind the Tribune offices.
Muller was the
second witness the Prosecution called in Wednesday’s proceedings in
Christopher Dillard’s murder trial. Dillard, 53, stands accused of murdering
Gland as she left work at the Upper Deck Lounge, 139 S. Calumet Road,
Chesterton, in the early hours of April 19, 2017.
Muller testified he
saw a silver SUV pushed up against a dumpster immediately behind the
Tribune offices as he arrived at work around 9 a.m. April 19 and
prepared to enter through a rear basement door.
“It just looked
strange,” Muller said. “It didn’t look like it was parked.” He said he
initially thought someone had crashed their car into the dumpster and left
it, then he assumed the driver had passed out once he saw the driver was
still in the car. The driver, later identified as Gland, was slumped over
the car’s center console and leaning to the right, according to Muller.
“When I saw her
eyes were open, I knew something was extremely wrong, and I went into a sort
of tunnel vision,” he said. “I didn’t see the massive amount of blood,” he
Muller said he
observed blood on Gland’s face and the car’s steering wheel, but at first
thought that was because she had crashed.
When his attempts
to rouse Gland by smacking her driver’s side window and calling to her
failed, Muller ran up the interior stairs at the Tribune office and
said someone needed to call 911.
employee Lora McMeans later testified it was her who made the two 911
calls--one from inside the office, then another from her cell phone at the
scene, so she could give the dispatcher more information.
Muller said after
McMeans dialed 911, he, McMeans, and fellow Tribune employees Adam
Peffers and Katelin Holt returned to the vehicle to render any possible aid.
This is when Muller said he opened the driver’s side door of Gland’s vehicle
and shook her left shoulder in another attempt to rouse her.
When he touched
Gland’s shoulder, it felt stiff, Muller said, at which time some members of
the gallery sounded distraught or left the courtroom. “It didn’t feel alive.
I don’t know how to describe it. It was a touch I’ll never forget,” he
Muller said he next
checked for a pulse on the left side of Gland’s neck, but backed away to
wait for first responders when he couldn’t detect one.
called Chesterton Fire Chief John Jarka after Muller. Jarka testified that
he was first on the scene because he was nearby in the Department’s brush
truck after returning from a call. Jarka said he didn’t attempt to treat
Gland, and instead deferred to the paramedic who arrived immediately behind
him in the Department’s EMS rig.
Jarka said he
observed “copious amounts of blood” and no signs of life when he looked in
the vehicle. Jarka said his first thought on arrival was that the incident
might be a suicide.
The jury later
asked Jarka to clarify why he thought that, and he said it was based on his
years of experience at prior scenes and the amount of blood. Muller also
clarified where he usually parked and explained the layout of the parking
area on Lois Lane behind the businesses along S. Calumet Road, in response
to jury questions.