A Schererville man was acquitted Thursday in a Gary man’s murder, according to a prosecutor’s spokeswoman.
Anthony Horde III, 28, of Schererville, was charged March 12, 2021, with murder in the shooting death of Russell Hillard, Jr., 39, in Gary’s Aetna section. Police said Hillard was found shot in his car with 50 shell casings from at least four different weapons found nearby following an apparent gun battle, according to a criminal affidavit.
At trial, Horde’s defense lawyers Lonnie Randolph and his son Lonnie Randolph II said he acted in self defense.
Police were called just before 5:30 a.m. on March 9, 2021, to the 1300 block of Dakota Street, according to court records. Hillard was found in a white car in the middle of the street as he tried to turn into his driveway, records state. A burgundy Chevrolet Equinox rental car was found parked nearby with both doors open, which also had bullet holes, charges show. Horde rented the car and had paperwork and a couple prescription bottles still there.
In his 911 call, Horde gave his name and date of birth, saying a car started following him and cut him off, according to court documents. A man pointed a gun at him and they exchanged fire, he said.
Police discounted the version, since Hillard was found outside his home. His girlfriend told police he left her house to go change at 4:30 a.m. before he headed to work. Hillard worked at ArcelorMittal, attended Glen Park Church of Christ and was a 1999 Wirt High School graduate, according to his obituary.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Kasey Dafoe and Taylor Young tried the case held before Judge Samuel Cappas.