Indiana man sentenced in 2017 stabbing death of co-worker outside Chesterton bar seeks appeal

Christopher Dillard murdered Nicole Gland after she allegedly rejected his sexual advances, prosecutors say

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Sunday, August 2, 2020
Man sentenced for stabbing co-worker to death outside Chesterton bar
A northwest Indiana man was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the murder of a 23-year-old coworker.

CHESTERTON, Ind. (WLS) -- The northwest Indiana man sentenced in the 2017 stabbing death of a bartender has appealed.

In January, Christopher Dillard was sentenced to a maximum of 65 years for the murder of his co-worker, 23-year-old Nicole Gland.

Dillard, 53, of Hobart, argued he didn't get an impartial jury because of "extensive inflammatory pretrial publicity," reported the (Northwest Indiana) Times.

Gland was stabbed more than 20 times before her body was found in her SUV behind the bar where they both worked in Chesterton.

A 24-year-old Portage woman was found dead Wednesday morning in downtown Chesterton in northwest Indiana, officials said.

Dillard wants the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse his conviction or reduce his sentence to 60 years.

Following the sentencing, Gland's family said that justice has finally been done.

"It doesn't really provide any closure," said Matthew Gland, the victim's father. "We miss our daughter every day, more every day, but it's a step forward."

Dillard had been charged with first-degree murder and robbery of the Portage, Indiana resident. Before handing down the maximum sentence, outraged Porter County Judge Jeffrey Clymer told Dillard: "Your actions were selfish. Your actions were cruel. Your actions were brutal."

After a nearly three-week-long trial, a jury found the bouncer guilty of the April 2017 slaying despite having a videotaped confession Dillard made shortly after he was arrested thrown out by the Indiana appellate court. Prosecutors thanked law enforcement.

"The success of the case was attributable to the work that they did," Porter County prosecutor Gary Germann said at the time.

Through emotional victims' impact statements, Nicole's best friend and others expressed their grief followed by the victim's mother and father.

Jessica Gland described her daughter as outgoing.

"We are left with the living nightmare of what happened that day," she said.

Sometimes shouting and fighting back tears, Matthew Gland clutched a smiling picture of his daughter and addressed the defendant directly.

"What do you say to the monster that murdered your daughter? This is supposed to be a healing process, but it's just another chapter in a horrible experience caused by you," he said.

RELATED: Police: Man arrested admitted to killing woman, said he was 'partying rough'

A 50-year-old man that was arrested in connection to the death of a 24-year-old woman found dead in a vehicle in Chesterton admitted to the crime, officials said.

Prosecutors say Dillard told police he had been using drugs for days when he stabbed Gland, who also worked at the former Upper Deck Lounge in Chesterton, after she rejected his sexual advances.

"Really the turning point in the case was the DNA showed that the defendant's DNA was in fact on the victim's body," said Armando Salinas, a deputy prosecutor in Porter County.

During the sentencing hearing, Dillard smiled at times, showing little remorse. His lawyer told the court: "Mr. Dillard maintains his innocence that he was not the perpetrator of this heinous crime."

Dillard has said he planed to appeal, but it's little comfort to a family still struggling to heal.

"I miss her deeply and I will never get to see her again and that's what really sucks and I just hope no other sibling in the world has to go through that pain," Gland's brother Nathaniel said at the sentencing.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

The video featured is from a previous report.