LA PORTE — A homeless Michigan City man accused of killing his grandmother and stealing her car will face a jury in La Porte Circuit Court beginning Monday.
Anthony Lavell Carter Jr., 28, faces counts of murder, felony murder, robbery, aggravated battery and theft stemming from the 2019 death of 75-year-old Beulah C. Biege.
La Porte City Police say Carter struck Biege in the face and head “resulting in brain swelling, coma and eventual death.”
The alleged attack occurred on Feb. 28, 2019; but Biege’s obituary states she did not succumb to her injuries until March 10, 2019.
Carter also is alleged to have stolen Biege’s 2003 Jeep Liberty after attacking her.
As he awaits his trial, Carter remains incarcerated on a cash-only bond of $250,000 at the La Porte County Jail.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin in La Porte Circuit Court at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
Carter’s murder trial will be the first jury trial to occur there since March.
Judge Thomas Alevizos said Friday that public health and safety is of utmost concern during the global pandemic.
He said potential jurors can expect some changes in protocol as the court works to maintain social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.
For example, all people to enter the courthouse will be subject to coronavirus screening and must wear face masks while inside, Alevizos said.
From there, the jury pool will be split into two groups, with some positioned inside the courtroom and others in the annex building watching via live feed.
Once the jury has been selected, jurors will use the courtroom to congregate instead of the normal jury room, as the latter does not allow enough space for proper social distancing.
Jurors and witnesses will be provided with face shields to wear during the trial so that face masks do not hinder the process.
To further accommodate a more spread-out jury, the court will use an 82-inch television screen to make sure everyone is able to see the witness stand.
And the trial will be broadcast live in a separate room for any spectators from the public who wish to observe.
“There’s a lot of different accommodations we’re making – the whole point is social distancing,” Alevizos said.
“We’re asking people to come and do their civic duty; so as judges we wanted to make sure we’re taking every precaution … and that there aren’t any negative health consequences to the whole process.
“But we need to get on with trials because people have been sitting in jail all this time, and they have a right to trial.”