Three teens and one 20-year-old were charged in court today, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, with the murder of Gerald Peters, 69, of Michigan City.
Ryan A. Phelps, 20, Melvin J. Basford, 18, Martell J. Anderson, 16, and Trevon D. Walker, 17, are each charged with murder, felony murder and robbery, all Class A felonies. Felony murder charges are filed when a person is killed during the commission of a felony, such as burglary or kidnapping.
Peters, a retired Michigan City Rogers High School English teacher who was very active in Mainstreet Theatre and various community endeavors, was found dead in the basement of his home in the 300 block of Walker Street on Nov. 9 after Michigan City Police were asked to check on his welfare.
“Upon arrival officers from the Patrol Division discovered Gerald Peters deceased in the home and there were obvious signs that a crime had been committed,” a police press release stated. Peters’ gray Pontiac Grand Prix was missing.
“At approximately 2:25 p.m. (Nov. 8), Assistant Chief Tim Richardson got into a pursuit with the victim’s vehicle that was being driven by a black male. After a short time, the driver, later identified as Trevon Drakkar Walker, lost control of the victim’s vehicle and crashed in the area of Porter and Holiday streets, where Walker fled on foot. Walker was taken into custody by Richardson, Detective Ron Skibins and Detective Al Schutz a very short time later.
“During the investigation several leads were followed that led to the identification of Ryan Phelps. An attempt to locate was put
out via radio and electronic means; Phelps was located in the area of Vail Street and Michigan Boulevard in an alley by Officer Mike Elkins.
“Throughout the late afternoon and evening hours, investigators continued to question several people for information, which led to other suspects, Melvin Joseph Basford and Martell Joseph Anderson, who were located late in the evening.”
The four were charged in LaPorte County Superior Court 1 on Friday, Nov. 9.
An autopsy on Gerald Peters is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 12, in Mishawaka with Dr. Joseph Prahlow and Detective Cpl. Tony McClintock.
“The Michigan City Police Department’s Administration and Mayor Ron Meer’s Office are extremely impressed with the professional teamwork and commitment that the Uniform Patrol Division, Detective Division, Street Crimes Unit, LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, LaPorte County Coroner’s Office and the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office brought forward regarding this investigation,” the press release stated. “Several personnel were called in from home on overtime to assist and multiple facets of this investigation that took place in different locations of our city moved full speed ahead in order to apprehend the suspects responsible for this heinous act. With the continued help and support of the members of the community we can continue to have quality investigations that lead to the arrest of criminals in our community.”