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Third Indiana man held without bond for retired officer's murder

A third man from Indiana was ordered held without bond Thursday for his alleged role in the murder of a retired Chicago Police sergeant last spring.

Like his alleged cohorts, 20-year-old Nicholas Heisler, of Hammond, Ind., is facing murder and home invasion charges for the March 10 incident that led to 73-year-old Elmer Brown’s death.

Jeremy Mendez, 16, of Whiting, Ind., and Jesse Kazmierski, 18, of Hammond, Ind., are currently being held without bond in the Cook County Jail.

Believing Brown and his wife had a lot of money in a safe, the three drove from Indiana to Chicago hoping to get their hands on the loot, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said.

The trio ended up taking some money, a rifle and knife from the home, Santini said.

Brown, who was shot once in the face at his home, at East 115th Street and South Avenue G, died two weeks later.

The 38-year Chicago Police veteran’s wife had been lying face down on the ground when she heard a gunshot, Santini said.

When the 72-year-old woman looked up, she saw her husband lying in the hallway.

The assailant holding the weapon allegedly told Brown’s wife, “Keep your head down bitch or I’ll f––—- blow your head off too.”

Prosecutors said it was unclear who pulled the trigger because Heisler, Mendez and Kazmierski had their sweatshirts pulled tightly around their faces during the crime.

The couple was watching television when Heisler, Mendez and Kazmierski rang the doorbell, Santini said.

“Help, we need help,” one of the three allegedly said.

Brown’s wife was opening the screen door when Kazmierski and Mendez pushed their way inside, knocking the elderly woman to the floor, Santini said. Heisler remained on the porch when Brown’s wife was pushed down, Santini said.

They demanded to know where the safe was and Brown told them it was upstairs, Santini said.

After ransacking the home, the three fled to Indiana with the Browns’ property, Santini said.

Heisler, who gave a statement to detectives, had told someone about the group’s plan and tried to recruit that person to join them, Santini said. He also allegedly admitted to sharing the proceeds of the robbery.

Heisler is a father of one and has another child on its way, an assistant public defender said.