Valparaiso man convicted in 2 teens’ armed robbery killings

A northwest Indiana man has been convicted in the killings of two teenagers who were shot to death last year during a drug-related armed robbery.

A Porter County jury found Connor Kerner, 19, guilty Thursday of two counts each of murder and murder in perpetration of a robbery, and other charges. A judge set Kerner’s sentencing for Dec. 8.

The Valparaiso man had allegedly confessed┬áto a then-girlfriend that he had killed 18-year-old Thomas Grill of Cedar Lake and 19-year-old Molley Lanham of St. John in February 2019 in the attached garage of his maternal grandparents’ Hebron-area home.

Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Hammer reminded jurors during closing arguments that Kerner reportedly told his then-girlfriend, “I did something bad. I killed someone and I killed an innocent girl.”

Hammer said the target in the armed robbery that led to the killings was $20,000 to $50,000 worth of THC cartridges, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Kerner’s defense attorneys did not present any evidence on Hammer’s behalf, but Indianapolis-based attorney James Voyles tried to shift the blame during closing arguments to Hammer’s co-defendant, John Silva II, 20.

The Hamlet man is charged with two counts each of murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, according to court records.

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