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3 charged in killing allegedly retaliated for double-slaying



CROWN POINT, Ind.  — Two men and a 17-year-old boy face murder charges for allegedly fatally shooting one person and trying to kill two others last summer in Gary in retaliation for an earlier double-homicide.

Authorities arrested Devonte T. Phillips, 19, Thaddeus S. McWilliams, 18, and Christian I. Nelson, 17, on Monday in the July 2020 fatal shooting of Christopher Watson, 16, and the wounding of a 56-year-old Gary man.

The defendants, all from Gary, were scheduled for initial hearings Wednesday on one count each of murder and two counts of attempted murder. They allegedly opened fired on Watson, the man and a female relative of Watson’s as they were outside moving a treadmill to a vehicle, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

According to Lake County court records, the trio targeted Xavier Watson’s family after prosecutors dropped murder charges against Xavier Watson and Mikal Franklin, who were initially charged in the May shooting deaths of Trevion Hudnell, 19, and Phillip Phillips, 21, both of Gary.

Phillip Phillips was Devonte Phillips’ older brother, according to court records.

Xavier Watson and Franklin had contacted police the same day as the slayings and claimed they shot Phillip Phillips and Hudnell in self-defense after a robbery attempt.

Watson’s family was moving out of their residence at the time of the July shootings after they received death threats, according to court documents.

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