Hammond man gets 50 years for lawyer’s murder

Hammond man gets 50 years for lawyer’s murder
Hammond man gets 50 years for lawyer’s murder

Jason Vazquez said he accepted his fate and would have to live with the knowledge that he killed Hobart lawyer William “Bill” Enslen for the rest of his life.

He signed a plea deal Jan. 22 admitting to murder in perpetuation of a burglary in Enslen’s June 24, 2021 death. He was sentenced Tuesday to 50 years in prison under the agreement.

“It’s the worst pain knowing the pain I caused,” he said in court. “I wish I could put it behind me. “It will never be behind me.”

Vazquez added he could only hope to live as long as Enslen in prison. He had been trying to build a better life for himself in recent years. He was remorseful for the impact it had on his own children and had lost friends and family due to the murder.

“I didn’t see myself (in prison again),” he said. “I threw it all away.”

Vazquez, 41, of Hammond, said he hoped Enslen’s family and friends could forgive him one day.

“I want them at peace,” he said. “They owe me nothing.”

A DNA blood match and cellphone records led investigators to charge Vazquez in Enslen’s death at his Hobart home. Police said Enslen, 75, suffered four gunshot wounds to the head, torso and left hand.

Enslen’s wife arrived home at 3:24 pm that day and found him face down and covered with blood on the rear porch.

She saw the home had been ransacked, furniture was flipped over, a cabinet was broken and a large white area rug was missing. Broken glass was on the floor.

Vazquez’s lawyer David Payne, based in Michigan City, said Tuesday his client was more remorseful than someone he expected with his type of lengthy criminal record. He would be “extremely lucky” to grow old in prison.

The lawyer asked Judge Natalie Bokota to accept the plea deal to give Enslen’s “hurting” family “some closure.”

Payne represented Vazquez since November 2021 after the Lake County Public Defender’s office recused itself from the case. Deputy Prosecutors Eric Randall and Lindsay Lanham were assigned.

Vazquez has a pending burglary and criminal confinement case in LaPorte County. The incident happened a week before Enslen’s death, records show.

Enslen, a former Dyer town attorney and Lake County judge pro tem, was described by friends in 2021 as a golf lover and fitness buff. He was a Marine infantryman and Vietnam veteran liked well in the legal community.

His cousin Luanne Gray said after the hearing that he was a “good man” who helped people when they needed it. His nephew John D’Antico said Enslen inspired him to become a lawyer.

Relatives said it gave them closure Tuesday to a degree.

“We needed it to end,” one woman said.

“Mr. Vazquez knows and accepts what he did,” Gray said.

Carole Carlson contributed.

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