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An investigation by police into the disappearance of Elaine Witte, 74, unraveled a bizarre story of murders plotted by the family matriarch, Hilma Marie Witte.
The 38-year-old woman, and her sons Eric and John, were arrested in November 1984 in California after cashing social security checks and draining the savings account of Elaine Witte, who disappeared from her Trail Creek home in January.
Katic claimed Leonard Smith bragged before a Lake County Sheriff's policeman he had "beat the system" after the jury determined he was not guilty by insanity.The judge declared a mistrial and a second trial was held in November 1979.This time Leonard Smith remained silent as two court-appointed psychiatrists testified they found Smith to be legally sane at the time of the shooting.Smith identified the shooter as her estranged husband, Leonard Smith, who followed them from Hawkins' home, believing his wife was having an affair with the baseball player.Leonard Smith, a 32-year-old unemployed Gary steelworker, was arrested by Gary police at his apartment on charges of murder and attempted murder.
John "Butch" Witte, 16, confessed to law enforcement he was responsible for the killing of Elaine Witte, his grandmother, though he said the murder was ordered by his mother.