FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The two men accused in the killing and dismemberment of a Fort Wayne man last month appeared in court Tuesday morning.
Mathew Cramer, 21, and Jacob Carreon-Hamilton, 20, stand accused in the death and subsequent dismemberment of 55-year-old Shane V. Nguyen. Cramer is charged with Murder, Abuse of a Corpse and Resisting Law Enforcement, while Carreon-Hamilton faces charges of Assisting a Criminal in a Murder, Abuse of a Corpse and Resisting Law Enforcement.
Both men appeared via video in Allen Superior Court and requested a public defender.
Cramer is accused of killing Nguyen and dismembering his body. During the video hearing, Cramer denied a request for a public defender to represent him, but then said he could not afford to hire a private attorney. After an explanation from a judge, Cramer then agreed to a public defender.
Cramer was ordered to be held without bail. His next appearance in court is scheduled for May 19.
Carreon-Hamilton is accused of assisting with the killing of Nguyen. He requested a public defender, and his bond was set at $15,000.
His next court appearance is scheduled for May 19.
It appeared that neither man had family or friends in the courtroom.
WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee did ask the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office if Karen Richards is considering the death penalty. A representative responded that the office will not comment since the case is still pending.
According to a probable cause affidavit released Tuesday, early Sunday, a Fort Wayne Police officer spotted a “suspicious vehicle” behind a building and when he went to investigate, he saw a black van driving away. The van was registered to Shane Nguyen, who was the subject of a Silver Alert issued two days before, the affidavit said.
Police tried to stop the van but it sped off at a high rate of the speed, the affidavit said. At one point, the driver jumped from the van and the passenger moved to the driver’s seat.
Police stopped the chase due to high speeds. The van eventually crashed into the backyard of a home off Forest Park Boulevard, off East State Boulevard. The driver ran off.
Inside the van, police found the dismembered body of Nguyen in black plastic trash bags, the affidavit said. An autopsy found Nguyen died of blunt force trauma to the head, and the Allen County Coroner’s Office ruled his death a homicide.
During a search of the van, investigators found receipts from Goshen stores that listed items including tarps, a hacksaw, hacksaw blades, a plastic tub, two shovels and a large knife, the affidavit said.
At the stores, police gathered surveillance that showed three males buying the items. A witness identified one of the men as Carreon-Hamilton, and detectives recognized another as Cramer, the affidavit said.
Security video also showed the men driving Nguyen’s Honda Odyssey van, the affidavit said.
Detectives then found a picture of Cramer on social media that showed him at a storage facility along North Coliseum Boulevard in Fort Wayne. Detectives went there and found a blood-stained tarp with a large knife on it, along with other items, the affidavit said.
Police said they believe the men dismembered Nguyen’s body in the storage unit, the affidavit said.
Carreon-Hamilton was taken into custody on Monday. During an interview with police, he said he “did not know what happened” until he came to Fort Wayne and Cramer took him to the storage unit and saw a body, the affidavit said. Carreon-Hamilton told police he sat in the van while Cramer “did whatever he did” inside the storage unit.
Carreon-Hamilton said he did not have anything to do with Nguyen’s death and said he did not know why they were buying the items at the Goshen stores, the affidavit said.
Cramer was found in Lakeville, Indiana, on Monday and taken to Fort Wayne Police headquarters for an interview.
Cramer told police he’d asked Nguyen for a ride from Elkhart back to Fort Wayne and that he planned to kill Nguyen before they reached Fort Wayne, the affidavit said. It remains unclear why.
In Fort Wayne, Cramer said they went to his storage unit on North Coliseum Boulevard. There, Cramer said he had Nguyen turn around and he put him in a choke hold until he was unconscious. At that point, Cramer said he slammed Nguyen’s head on the pavement, the affidavit said.
At that point, Cramer said he pulled the body into the storage unit and “completed killing” Nguyen, the affidavit said. He left his body inside the storage unit, locked it and drove back to Goshen to buy items with Carreon-Hamilton and another man, the affidavit said.
Cramer told police that he took money from Nguyen and gave it to Carreon-Hamilton and the other man to buy the items, the affidavit said. Cramer said he discussed with Carreon-Hamilton how they were going to get rid of the body, and they dropped off the other man before they returned to Fort Wayne, the affidavit said.
Cramer told police he used a knife to cut Nguyen’s body while Carreon-Hamilton held the body, the affidavit said. Carreon-Hamilton “was coaching” Cramer on “how to cut the body,” the affidavit said.
After it was dismembered, Carreon-Hamilton and Cramer loaded the body into the back of the van to dispose of it “but a police officer found them behind a building,” the affidavit said.