Trial Begins For Hammond Cop Charged With Killing Ex-Girlfriend

Indiana – A Porter County jury stared at graphic photos Wednesday showing how a Portage woman was found shot dead with blood pooled in the carpet around her in 2015.

“So, how do we get to this place where she dies so violently?” asked prosecuting attorney Matthew Frost.

Frost turned and pointed to Kevin Campbell, 33, sitting in a suit with his defense attorneys at the Porter County courthouse in Valparaiso.

“We get to this place because the man sitting at the end of this table, Kevin A. Campbell, murdered her,” Frost said.

Attorneys presented opening arguments Wednesday after seating a jury Tuesday in Campbell’s murder trial stemming from the death Tiara Thomas, Campbell’s ex-girlfriend and his children’s mother.

Thomas, 30, was found shot Nov. 18, 2015, in the bedroom of her Portage apartment she shared with her fiance in the Park Place apartment complex.

Although he couldn’t see the screen, Campbell, a former Hammond police officer, wiped his eyes with a tissue as Frost showed Thomas’ autopsy photos during opening statements. When the courtroom cleared during a morning break, he cried as he sat alone at the defense table.

Susan Marie Severtson, one of Campbell’s attorneys, argued that there was a lack of eyewitness and scientific evidence in the case. No DNA evidence or fingerprints matching Campbell were found at Thomas’ apartment, she said.

At the end of the trial, Svertson argued, “You will not know who in fact killed Tiara Thomas.”

Thomas and Campbell had three children together, but the “relationship fell apart,” Frost said. It was a “contentious breakup,” and before Thomas died, Campbell’s child support “expanded exponentially,” he said.

When Campbell was arrested, Portage police said there may have been a financial motive involved, as Campbell’s vehicle had been repossessed, he had voice mails from creditors and his bank account balance was $7.58, according to court records.

“It was ruining his life,” Frost said.

Svertson countered that didn’t amount to motive. Thomas was Campbell’s “first love” and the two had known each other since elementary school, she said.

“He was happy to emotionally and financially support his children,” Svertson said.

Police questioned Marqtell Robinson, Thomas’ fiance who she lived with, but Robinson’s alibi that he had worked a midnight shift before he found her dead at 7 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2015, checked out, according to testimony from Ted Uzelac, Portage police assistant chief.

“He did not murder Tiara Thomas,” Frost said.

David Duttlinger, a Portage Fire Department paramedic, said he couldn’t say exactly when Thomas had been shot, but she wasn’t bleeding much when he arrived at the apartment, he said. The responding officers and paramedic said none of them smelled gunpowder in the apartment.

After questioning neighbors at the apartment complex, no one said they heard or saw anything, the officers testified.

Campbell’s trial continues Thursday and is expected to run three days a week for the next few weeks, attorneys said

Campbell is being held at Porter County Jail without bond.


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‘Ignorant’ Chancellor Philip Hammond says disabled workers may be hitting Britain’s productivity

Hammond insinuated that “increasing participation” in the workforce of disabled people may have “had an impact on overall productivity measures.”

Disability Rights UK’s policy manager Philip Connolly told RT the chancellor’s comments are “extraordinarily ignorant” as they have no foundation in reality, and that disabled people are bound to feel “highly insulted” by them.

Connolly defended employed disabled people saying that far from creating a “drag effect,” they are “highly productive and contribute massively to the employers they work for.”

“Disabled people are underrepresented in the work force and if more of them were in-work they would provide more contribution to the economy,” he told RT.

The chancellor made the comments to a Treasury select committee when he was asked about low economic productivity levels.

“It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements,” Hammond said.

Anna Bird, the director of policy and research at Scope, branded his comments “unacceptable and derogatory.”

“They [comments] fundamentally undermine the government’s policy to get more disabled people into work, and the ambition set out by the prime minister just a week ago,” she said, according to the Guardian.

“The chancellor must urgently withdraw them and offer a full apology,” she added.

The shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha de Cordova, was among the many who took to Twitter to criticize the chancellor’s comments.

It comes after the UN published a damning report back in August claiming the UK is failing to uphold disabled people’s rights across different sectors.

A report by the UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found Britain had fallen short of complying with a UN convention enshrining the right of disabled to go about different areas of their lives without discrimination.

Shortly before that, Theresia Degener launched a scathing attack on the government’s welfare cuts which she said have created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.

A government spokesperson responded at the time saying: “The UK is a recognised world leader in disability rights and equality, which is why we supported the development of the UN convention.

“Almost 600,000 disabled people have moved into work over the last four years and we spend over £50 billion a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions, more than ever before.

“This first periodic review will help build on our progress to empower disabled people in all aspects of their lives.”

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