Man gets 45 years for role in 1998 NW Indiana triple killing

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A man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after admitting that he helped another man kill one of three people found bludgeoned to death in 1998 in a northwestern Indiana home.

A Lake County judge sentenced David L. Copley Jr., 47, on Friday after the Franklin, Indiana, man pleaded guilty last year to one count of murder in the death of Jerod Hodge, 18, of Chicago.

In exchange for Copley’s testimony against his co-defendant, James H. Higgason III of Whiting, Indiana, prosecutors agreed to a 45-year sentence for Copley.

Prosecutors alleged that Higgason, 53, and Copley used pieces of wood or metal pipes to beat Hodge, Elva Tamez, 36, and Timothy Ross, 16, of Calumet City, Illinois, to death in January 1998, at Tamez’s Hammond, Indiana, home, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Authorities said Copley and Higgason were trying to get drugs and cash from the victims.

Higgason, 53, was convicted in May of murdering Hodge, Tamez and Ross and was sentenced in June to 180 years in prison.

In his plea agreement, Copley said Higgason instructed him to hit Hodge, so he struck him in the head with a board while Hodge slept, and that Higgason also struck Hodge, court records state.

Copley said he ran out of the house as Higgason then bludgeoned Ross and Tamez.

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