Trial set in fatal robbery gone bad
MICHIGAN CITY — A man charged with murder after an alleged robbery went bad is scheduled to go to trial in March.
The charges against Nathan Gregory Cureton, 22, stem from an October incident in which his alleged accomplice was shot and killed during an attempted robbery.
Cureton appeared Thursday in La Porte Superior Court 1, where the judge scheduled him for a jury trial to begin March 11, 2019.
Cureton has until his final pretrial conference on Feb. 7 to enter a plea agreement with the state, if one can be reached.
According to Michigan City Police, Cureton and 60-year-old Nathaniel Havis made plans to rob 21-year-old Tyler Abbott of a pound of marijuana when they went to meet him in the 200 block of E. 6th Street on Oct. 4.
Cureton told police he set up the meeting and planned the robbery, and Havis took the gun and pulled it out when he demanded the drugs from Abbott.
A struggle ensued between Abbott and Havis, and Abbott gained control of the gun and fired, police said. He then fled the scene with the weapon.
Police were called at 8:34 p.m. to a report of a man shot, and arrived with the Fire Department and La Porte County EMS to find Havis unresponsive. Cureton was standing near Havis’ body, police said.
Initially, according to police, Cureton lied, saying he and Havis were attempting to purchase synthetic marijuana from a man he didn’t know, but the man shot Havis and drove away.
But, police said, he later admitted planning the robbery. So under Indiana law, because Cureton admitted to having planned the crime that resulted in Havis’ death, he was charged with both murder and robbery.
He remains incarcerated at the La Porte County Jail on a $1 million cash bond; and faces up to 71 years in prison should he be convicted.
Abbott was arrested on a felony charge of obstruction of justice stemming from the shooting, but was released on $2,000 bond shortly thereafter.