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Arrests Made in Indiana Homicides

February 20, 2001

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) _ Two men were arrested in a triple murder that police say may have been a mistaken act of revenge against an informant.

Zealand Bea, 25, and Eric Sanders, 25, who are cousins, were each charged Friday with three counts of murder. Prosecutor Bernard Carter said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

Edward Zavala, 53, Louis Salvatore Jr., 36, and Elizabeth Miller-Bates, 33, were slain Feb. 6. They were found in a pickup truck riddled with bullet holes.

Salvatore had been arrested on drug possession charges in August and had agreed to serve as an informant, providing the names of dealers and users.

Sanders, an alleged drug dealer, apparently thought Salvatore was working against him, according to East Chicago police spokesman Joe De La Cruz. But the spokesman said Salvatore was informing for police on a different case.

According to court papers, Sanders believed Miller-Bates was also an informant. The third victim, Zavala, ``just happened to be literally in the wrong place at the wrong time,″ said Hammond police spokesman Christopher Matonovich.

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