Judge denies new trial in off-duty officer’s 1980 death

By The Associated Press

CROWN POINT — A judge has denied a request for a new trial for an alleged getaway driver convicted in the 1980 shooting death of an off-duty northwestern Indiana police officer.

Fifty-five-year-old James Hill was sentenced to 47 years in prison in October after a jury earlier convicted him of murder in perpetuation of robbery and attempted robbery.

The Post-Tribune reports Judge Salvador Vasquez determined there was no need for a new trial.

Prosecutors said the Gary man waited in a getaway car while his two alleged accomplices went inside a Holiday Inn in Hammond, demanded money from a clerk and shot 33-year-old Lawrence Pucalik while Pucalik worked as a security guard. Hill denied involvement.

The update comes as one of the alleged accomplices, Pierre Catlett, awaits trial on a murder charge.

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