Judge appoints attorney for man in Gary bank guard’s killing

HAMMOND, Ind. — A federal magistrate appointed a public defender for a man during his first court appearance in the June killing of a security guard shot to death outside a Gary bank during a robbery.

Hailey Gist-Holden, 26, is charged along with James A. King Jr., 24, of Miami, with killing bank security guard Richard Castellana outside the First Midwest Bank branch during a June 11 holdup.

During Monday’s hearing in Hammond, a magistrate judge appointed Gist-Holden a public defender and set a July 22 hearing at which the Gary man will be formally arraigned on murder, armed bank robbery and drug charges.

The hearing was the first since Gist-Holden was returned to Indiana after police arrested him last month near Valdosta, Georgia, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

The charges make Gist-Holden and King, who was arrested shortly after Castellana’s killing, eligible for a capital murder charge, if U.S. Justice Department officials approve such a prosecution.

Police say the pair, armed with a handgun and rifle, stormed the bank and ambushed Castellana — a 55-year-old from Tinley Park, Illinois — before he saw them coming. They allegedly fled with $9,771.

The government alleges Gist-Holden carried out the bank robbery to bail out his semipro football team, the Illini Panthers.

Authorities said Gist-Holden needed money to pay his players, their hotel bills and rent on his Gary home. They allege Gist-Holden enlisted King, one of his football players, to assist in the robbery.