Gary man charged with killing, burying woman
Thursday, May 31, 2007 12:57 AM CDT
BY RUTHANN ROBINSON
CROWN POINT | A 21-year-old Gary man accused of bludgeoning a woman to death and then burying her in his backyard was charged Wednesday with murder.
Louis Vela turned himself in and confessed Tuesday, which led investigators to the body of Tracy Parham, 34, police said.
Officers on Tuesday evening found her naked body wrapped in contractors garbage bags in a grave near the garage at Vela's home, 3856 Van Buren St.
Vela reportedly told police he was smoking crack with Parham on March 11, his 21st birthday. When Parham refused to have sex with him, he bashed her in the head with a lead crystal clock, police and prosecutors say in court records.
When Parham did not wake up, Vela took her to his room and had sex with her, according to the court records.
Parham's body remained in Vela's bedroom while Vela went with family members to Taco Bell and a movie in Portage to celebrate his birthday, court records allege.
Later, in the dark, Vela wrapped Parham in the large plastic bags and dug a grave for her near his backyard garage, police allege.
But when Vela's aunt took him to visit his mother in a nursing home Tuesday, Vela broke down and told the women he had killed someone on March 11, court records say. His aunt encouraged him to turn himself in and accompanied him to the Gary police station.
Vela led police through the home, pointing out objects that likely will become evidence, including bedding, the clock and the shovel with which he buried Parham, police said.
Vela was jailed without bond and faces a maximum sentence of 65 years.
Parham's daughter, Sierra Parham, 13, told The Times on Wednesday that nothing she hears about her mother and how she died will change how she feels.
"No matter what, she was always the sweetest person. She was always there for me and had my back and took care of me like she needed to," Sierra said.
Johnette Parham, the victim's mother, said even though she hadn't heard from Tracy Parham in more than two months, she didn't file a missing person's report, hoping her daughter "went out of town with her boyfriend."
"I was praying that was the situation," Johnette Parham said.
She said she learned about her daughter's death from one of Vela's family members Wednesday. She said she did not know Vela, but she is glad Vela's aunt encouraged him to do the right thing.
"I think that was very courageous and honorable of them," Johnette Parham said. "I won't judge him; I'll let God judge him."
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Man describes motive in killing
May 31, 2007
By Lori Caldwell Post-Tribune staff writer
GARY -- After a night of drinking and smoking crack cocaine, Louis Vela Jr. became angry when his female companion refused to have sex with him, so he killed her, police said.
Vela, 21, confessed to the slaying Tuesday afternoon and led police to his back yard where he said he buried the woman after he beat her in the head with a clock, then had sex with her lifeless body more than once, police said.
Investigators found the woman, wrapped in plastic garbage bags as Vela described, in the corner of his yard at 3856 Van Buren St. Tuesday evening.
Vela was charged with murder Wednesday in Lake Superior Court in Crown Point.
He told Detective Keith Richardson he knew the woman as "Lady," and later identified a photo of his victim, who police say is Tracy Parham.
Vela had visited his mother in a Merrillville nursing home Tuesday and after confessing to her and an aunt, agreed to tell police what happened, the probable cause affidavit states.
He said Parham fell asleep and he stayed up and drank and "was trying to have sex with her," but she refused so he "got up and hit her with a big glass clock while she was sleeping."
Later he removed her clothing and placed her in the bathtub while he went with friends to eat and see a movie to celebrate his birthday.
"He waited until the sun went down and then took 'Lady' to the back yard and put her in the ground in the hole that he had dug," the affidavit states.
Police recovered the clock, bedding and other items from Vela's home during a search for evidence.
Contact Lori Caldwell at 881-3119 or email@example.com
THis happened near my home-town.. freaky ..