MC man convicted of murder at second trial
La PORTE – In his second trial for the 2016 death of Wade Hatcher, Kersee Anderson was found guilty of murder in La Porte Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Anderson, 30, was accused of fatally shooting Hatcher, a passenger in an adjacent vehicle, in the 1200 block of East Michigan Boulevard, in October 2016.
His first trial, in Michigan City, ended on April 4 when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict after six days of testimony, and a mistrial was declared on charges of murder and reckless homicide.
In closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Buitendorp maintained the murder was a “purposeful and decisive action” by Anderson.
Buitendorp went over Anderson’s incriminating social media posts and showed the jury numerous instances of video surveillance from local businesses linking Anderson to the crime.
She walked the jury through Anderson’s 29 conflicting recollections of his whereabouts during the crime, saying, “I had to make a chart to follow his convoluted and inconsistent stories.”
According to police, Anderson and Hatcher were passengers in separate cars racing east on Michigan Boulevard when one of several shots struck the 26-year-old Hatcher in the head. Prosecutors suggested the killing was the result of a long-simmering feud between Anderson and the driver of the other car.
Attorney Russell Brown Jr., who represented Anderson – who denied being at the scene or firing a gun – claimed that Michigan City Police had just, “put blinders on” when it came to accusing Anderson. And witnesses simply told police what they wanted to hear.
“They [police] told Kersee that he was guilty in the court of public opinion,” Brown said.
He reminded the jury of the presumption of innocence, which all cases should meet, and that the burden of proof was on the state, which he said had “insufficient and coerced evidence.”
But after about 2 1/2 hours of deliberation, the jury found Anderson guilty of murder, a charge that could earn him up to 65 years in prison
Anderson also had a gun at the time of his arrest, according to prosecutors, so a previous felony conviction for possession and manufacturing of cocaine allowed prosecutors to categorize him as a violent felon.
It took the jury only minutes to find Anderson guilty of possession of a firearm by a violent felon. That charge carries an additional two to 12 years in prison, with an advisory of six years.
Sentencing for Anderson – who had remained in the La Porte County Jail on a $1 million bond, which was revoked Tuesday – is scheduled before the end of the year, though no date was set.