Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Neighborhood tips led police 'right to them' :: Local News :: Post-Tribune

Neighborhood tips led police 'right to them' :: Local News :: Post-Tribune: "HAMMOND -- At least one suspect in the slayings of city civic leaders Ruby and Milton Wayman McClendon was no stranger to the criminal justice system and likely knew his alleged victims.

Court records outlining charges against 17-year-old Reo Jon'Ta Thompson show the teen lived just two blocks away from the McClendons' home in the 1000 block of Field Street. It's the same address listed in charges filed in 2008 against a then 16-year-old Thompson, alleging he and another teen raped a 15-year-old girl in the basement of a Hammond house.

The charges were dropped in February, some eight months before Thompson allegedly forced his way into the McClendons' home with 18-year-old co-defendant Gregory Brooks Jr. in a violent robbery attempt that ended with the McClendons both killed by gunshot wounds.

Brooks Jr. and Thompson face nine counts each of robbery, burglary and confinement that could see them spend the rest of their lives behind bars if convicted.

Charging documents state both teens admitted planning a robbery of the McClendons for the night of Oct. 19, drawing Milton Wayman McClendon to his front door by asking for help with their car. They then pushed their way inside, beating the 78-year-old Milton until he offered some jewelry. The teens, who claim they were accompanied by a gun-wielding accomplice named Kevin Langley, then took $50 from Ruby's purse, and a .22-caliber rifle, then tied the couple up and left them in a closet.

The teens then told police they returned later to "finish them."

The teens reportedly each have named the other as the shooter, and investigators do not believe Langley exists.

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