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Man sentenced in 1980 killing of off-duty Hammond officer

October 4, 2018

A Gary man convicted in the 1980 shooting death of an off-duty Hammond police officer has been sentenced to 47 years in prison.

James Hill, 55, learned his punishment Wednesday after a jury in August convicted him of murder in perpetuation of robbery and attempted robbery.

Prosecutors said Hill waited in a getaway car while his two alleged accomplices went inside a Holiday Inn in Hammond, demanded money from a clerk and shot 33-year-old Lawrence Pucalik while Pucalik worked as a security guard.

Hill denied involvement. He told the court, “I had nothing to do with it, and a great injustice has been done.”

Defense attorney Scott King said Hill would appeal the conviction. He argued Hill was prosecuted because he’s suing the city of Hammond in an unrelated case.

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