Judge denies venue change to the man accused in the murder of Hobart lawyer

A Lake County judge rejected Wednesday’s request by a defense lawyer to transfer the trial for a suspect in the murder of a Hobart lawyer.

Jason Vazquez (38), of Hammond, was indicted for the June 24th murder of William Enslen (75) during a home invasion.

Enslen, who was recently retired, was an attorney for many years for the Town of Dyer. His law practice was located in downtown Hammond.

David Payne, a public defender based in LaPorte County, told Lake Superior Judge Natalie Bokota it would be difficult for his client to have a fair trial here.

Enslen described Enslen as a “pillar” who had almost “celebrity status”, he stated.

Vazquez filed recently, through his lawyers. He alleges mistreatment at Lake County Jail, including glass in his food, and threats from a staff member.

Kim O’Connor, Lake County Jail Assistant Warden, said that she was not aware of the incidents. From his previous jail time, she had a great relationship with Vazquez. She said Vazquez was moved to the mental hospital unit away from the general population in order to ensure his safety.

Bokota said to the lawyers that it was too assuming that potential jurors would be able to identify Enslen because people “don’t even read the newspaper like they did in the past.”

Bokota was requested by his lawyers to transfer Vazquez to Porter County Jail. This was granted. Vazquez was rescheduled for trial on Sept. 26.

To avoid conflict of interest with Lake County Public Defender’s Office, Payne and Kurt Earnst, LaPorte County lawyers, were appointed to defend Vazquez.

Doug Shaw and Eric Randall, Deputy Prosecuting Lawyers, are assigned to this case.

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