The jury in the
Upper Deck murder case yesterday heard the final details of law
enforcement’s investigation into the murder of Nicole Gland.
rested its case at approximately 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Closing arguments are
expected for Wednesday, after which the jury will be released to deliberate.
In the case,
Christopher Dillard is charged with murder and has pled not guilty to
killing Gland in the early hours of April 19, 2017 behind the former Upper
Deck Lounge, 139 S. Calumet Road, Chesterton, after she closed the bar.
Gland had been a bartender there, and Dillard a bouncer.
Prosecution rested, the State called Porter County Sheriff’s Police Captain
Jeff Biggs to explain his role in the investigation into Gland’s death and
called Chesterton Police Detective Nick Brown to discuss a knife that was
reported found in the area behind the former Upper Deck Lounge in September
Biggs said he was
appointed to a special task force formed by new Porter County Prosecutor
Gary German in January 2019, and told to review the case materials. The task
force was comprised of Detectives from the Portage and Valparaiso police
departments, the PCSP, and the Indiana State Police, Biggs said.
Biggs said the task
force reviewed original evidence and attempted to gather new material, which
included looking for and interviewing new witnesses and reviewing security
footage, among other tasks.
showed the jury footage from a law office at the northwest corner of S.
Calumet Road and Lincoln in Chesterton, a couple blocks south of Upper Deck.
That video shows the April 19, 2017 movements of a small, dark colored
pickup truck matching the description of the truck Dillard drove.
12:11 a.m. the truck is seen heading south. Minutes later, witnesses put
Dillard at Danny O’s, a couple miles south of Upper Deck on S. Calumet Road.
Shortly after 2 a.m., after witnesses say Dillard left Danny O’s, the truck
is seen northbound on Calumet. It passes the law office two more times
between 2 and 3 a.m. before the last time it is seen, at approximately 3:09
a.m., turning west off of S. Calumet Road onto Lincoln.
Biggs said he also
reviewed footage of a similar truck moving down the main road of the
Pleasant Valley mobile home park and storage area later that night. That is
the same area where Gland’s phone last pinged at approximately 3:30 a.m.
April 19 and a police K9 picked up Dillard’s scent a few days later.
asked Biggs if the footage shows vehicles consistent with what Gland’s
then-boyfriend Santos Ortiz or Upper Deck bar owner Jason Budzevski would
have been driving. Biggs said the footage doesn’t, though the Defense later
established on cross examination that a vehicle could have avoided both
cameras to get to areas of interest.
Biggs said it was
only this year that the task force found witnesses who reported Dillard had
sexual desires for Gland, and those details were not made public prior to
the beginning of the trial. Biggs also spoke to the value of the single gram
of cocaine Dillard has said he was planning to sell to Gland the night of
her murder. Biggs said when he last worked narcotics in 2010, a gram of
cocaine was going for $60. Dillard said in statements to police that he had
agreed to sell Gland some marijuana and the gram of cocaine for only $45.
also asked Biggs the approximate amount of money Beverly Galle, Dillard’s
former girlfriend, has been spending receiving phone calls from Dillard
while Dillard has been incarcerated. Judge Jeffrey Clymer overruled an
objection from the Defense when Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan argued that
whether or not Galle is spending large sums of money on Dillard speaks to
her credibility as a witness, but Biggs didn’t know how much the jail phone
attorney Russell W. Brown asked Biggs why security video from Dillard’s
intake, when he reportedly told a cell mate details of the crime, was not
obtained. Biggs said the footage no longer existed when he started
investigating this year. In response to a series of questions about the
video and records kept at the jail, including a direct question about
Chesterton Police efforts, Biggs said Chesterton Police could have obtained
records and found that video if they had looked earlier.
Brown also asked
Biggs to confirm that some evidence, phone records from Ortiz, was
“missing.” Biggs said it was not missing, but was never collected.
CPD Detective Brown
also took the stand again yesterday. Brown testified that he was called to
the area behind the former Upper Deck in September 2017 for a report of a
knife found. Brown said he didn’t collect the knife as evidence because it
was a “dinner type” steak knife that appeared to have greasy residue on it
and looked as if it had fallen from the back patio of the former Octave
Grill. Brown said he knew the knife that was used in the murder was large
and not serrated, so the knife found in September wasn’t what he was looking
for related to the Gland case.
questioned why Brown didn’t write a report of that incident or take photos
of the knife. Attorney Brown asked, “The jury’s just supposed to take your
word for it two and a half years later that that knife wasn’t the murder
weapon?” Detective Brown responded in the affirmative.