An Elkhart man pleaded guilty to counts of murder Monday shortly before his trial was scheduled to begin.
Richard Carl Gross, 23, admitted his involvement in the Sept. 5 slayings of Pawan Singh, 20, and Jagtar Singh Bhatti, 55, during a robbery at Saleh’s Market. The men were employees at the store, located at the corner of Middlebury and Madison streets in Elkhart.
A co-defendant in the case, Kevin L. Moore, 28, Elkhart, is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 3. Prosecutors allege it was Moore who actually shot the men to death.
Gross was charged under the legal doctrine of felony murder. Under Indiana law, if someone is killed during the commission of certain felonies, the person committing the felony — in this case robbery — can be held criminally responsible for murder.
Gross is set to be scheduled March 14. He pleaded guilty Monday without specified terms, meaning Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker can impose any sentence permitted by law.
The sentence for murder ranges from 45 to 65 years in prison, so Gross faces a maximum sentence of 130 years on both counts.
• A crash between a school bus and a car in Dunlap Monday afternoon resulted in only a minor injury.
The crash occurred at 3:30 p.m. on U.S. 33 near C.R. 13. Elkhart County police said Jerry Denny, 45, Goshen, was driving southeast in a 2009 Lincoln four-door. A Concord Community Schools bus driven by Sharon Shinn, 55, Bristol, was stopped in traffic.
Police said Denny made an unsafe lane movement, and the Lincoln’s front end struck the rear passenger side of the bus. The car then spun around and its rear passenger side corner struck the passenger side of the bus.
A child on the school bus, Aidan S. Argenti, 11, Elkhart, suffered wrist pain as a result of the crash. Denny was cited for a traffic infraction.