Murder trial set for March
MICHIGAN CITY — A man charged with murder after his alleged robbery accomplice was shot and killed by the intended victim in October will plead his case in front of a jury next month.
Nathan Gregory Cureton, 22, appeared for his final pretrial conference in La Porte Superior Court 1 on Thursday, the last date by which he would have been allowed to enter a plea agreement with the state.
He indicated to the court that he is prepared to face a jury beginning March 11, and a final pre-jury conference is set for Feb. 28.
According to Michigan City Police, Cureton told them he and the murder victim, 60-year-old Nathaniel Havis, made a plan to rob 21-year-old Tyler Abbott of a pound of marijuana on Oct. 4.
Cureton set up the meeting in the 200 block of East 6th Street, and Havis brought the gun, police say.
When Abbott arrived, Havis pulled the gun and demanded the drugs, Cureton allegedly told officers. But a scuffle ensued; Abbott gained control of the weapon; and Havis was fatally shot, according to police.
Although he didn’t pull the trigger, Cureton was charged with murder for allegedly orchestrating the attempted robbery that resulted in Havis’ death. He also is charged with robbery as a Level 5 felony.
If convicted, he faces up to 71 years in prison.
Abbott, who allegedly fled the scene with the gun, was charged with obstruction of justice, a Level 6 felony punishable by up to 2.5 years.
As he awaits trial, Cureton remains incarcerated at the La Porte County Jail on a cash-only bond of $1 million.
Abbott is free on a $2,000 cash bond, and is scheduled for a dispositional hearing in his case in La Porte Superior Court 4 on March 4.