The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the sentence that was handed to John Brooke in Starke Circuit Court by Judge Kim Hall. Brooke had appealed the sentence challenging his conspiracy conviction and his sentence.
Brooke was sentenced to 22 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections after a jury found him guilty on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Intimidation, Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device (a Molotov Cocktail), Possession of a Destructive Device, Resisting Law Enforcement, Unlawful Use of Body Armor and Assisting a Criminal. The charges stemmed from an incident at Bass Lake on February 15th, 2010, where Brooke was convicted of harboring a fugitive, Michael Drogosz, and they developed a plan to kill police officers and rob banks in Starke County. Several other people were also involved in the plan.
Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall sentenced John Brooke this morning. Brooke is the last of the suspects involved in the police shootout at Bass Lake in February 2010. Brooke was found guilty of six charges in a jury trial in April. Judge Hall categorized Brooke’s counts into three different criminal episodes and sentenced him according to those elements.
Brooke was sentenced to 15 years on the count of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and 4 years on the count of Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device. Those sentences will be served concurrently. Brooke was sentenced to 4 years on the Intimidation charge, 1 year on the Resisting Law Enforcement charge and 1 year on the Unlawful Use of Body Armor charge. Those sentences will run concurrently together. Brooke will serve 3 years on the Assisting a Criminal charge. All of those sentences will be served consecutively for a total of 22 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. None of the sentence was suspended and he will be credited for 452 already served in jail.
John Brooke, who was found guilty by a jury in his actions surrounding a police shootout at Bass Lake in February 2010, will be sentenced this morning in Starke Circuit Court.
Brooke was found guilty by a jury of six of the seven counts against him on April 15th. Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Intimidation, Possession and Manufacturing of a Destructive Device, Resisting Law Enforcement, Unlawful Use of Body Armor, and Assisting a Criminal were among these counts. The jury found him not guilty of the count of Possession of a Destructive Device.
Kimberly Hitchens will be sentenced Tuesday, April 26th, at 11:15 a.m. CT in Starke Circuit Court. She faces a charge of Assisting a Criminal, a Class D Felony.
Right before she was to stand trial, on April 8th, the State of Indiana dropped two charges she was facing from events surrounding a police shootout at Bass Lake in February 2010. Those included: Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device.
The courtroom was full of family and friends of John Brooke as the jury returned to the courtroom with their verdict. The judge read their decision, his face calm, revealing nothing. As he began reading the verdict aloud, family members burst into tears while Brooke remained calm and collected, even in the face of the seriousness of the charges.
The jury found Brooke guilty of six of the seven counts against him: Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Intimidation, Possession and Manufacturing of a Destructive Device, Resisting Law Enforcement, Unlawful Use of Body Armor, and Assisting a Criminal. The jury found him not guilty of the count of Possession of a Destructive Device.
A jury of 8 men and four women has returned a guilty verdict on 6 of the seven charges against John Brooke in Starke Circuit
Court. The trial was conducted in front of Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall.
A stoic John Brooke heard the guilty verdict given, while friends and family in the gallery wept.
He was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Intimidation, Possession and Manufacturing Destructive Devices, Resisting Law Enforcement,
Unlawful Use of Body Armour, and Assisting a Criminal.
The only count he was found not guilty on was a seventh charge, possession of a destructive device.
Sentencing has been set by Judge Hall for May 12th. at 10:00.
Brooke was part of a potentially deadly situation at Bass Lake in February of 2010 in which an occupant in his home opened fire on Starke County Police officers who were trying to serve an Illinois warrant. Michael Drogosz, the shooter in that incident was sentenced to a lengthy prison term in August.
The trial of John Brooke continued Wednesday morning in Starke Circuit Court. The Prosecution called its first witness of the day to the stand: Starke County Detective Ron Lawson. Lawson testified that he had been called to a shooting incident on Summerholme Drive at Bass Lake and received a briefing from officers on the scene. He also said that he had interviewed John Brooke on three separate interviews to correct or understand discrepancies between interviews with Brooke, Michael Drogosz, and Kimberly Hitchens, who were also involved in the incident.
The trial of John Brooke continued this morning in Starke Circuit Court. The first witness called to the stand was Starke County Detective Ron Lawson. Lawson testified that he had been called to a shooting incident on Summerholme Drive at Bass Lake and received a briefing from officers on the scene. He testified that he had interviewed John Brooke on three separate interviews to correct or understand discrepancies given by Brooke.
Lawson testified that Brooke was given a waiver of rights form which was signed and Brooke’s attorney was contacted and Lawson was given permission to interview John Brooke. Lawson testified he had also contacted the ATF, FBI and Homeland Security due to the nature of the weaponry and explosives found at the scene and the possible existence of a local militia being involved.
The Detective testified that he had searched a vehicle Brooke was driving and a 308 sniper-type rifle was recovered with a scope.
The trial continues today and is expected to go to the jury by Thursday.
The trial of John Brooke continued into its second day, and, at the request of the Prosecution, the jury heard statements from James Reed. Reed is one of the men involved in the Bass Lake shootout and who was sentenced to ten years in prison for Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery. Special Agent Katherine Newby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms also testified.
The trial of John Brooke, who was reportedly involved in an incident at Bass Lake in February of 2010, begins today in Starke Circuit Court. Brooke is facing seven charges against him. The trial begins at 9:00 a.m. in Judge Kim Hall’s courtroom. A jury of eight men and four women was seated on Friday.
Brooke was supposed to be on trial with Kimberly Hitchens but in a surprise development, Hitchens had charges of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device dismissed by the State of Indiana. She plead guilty to one charge of Aiding and Assisting a Criminal, a Class D felony. A sentencing hearing has not been set at this time.
The combined trial of Kimberly Hitchens and John Brooke is expected to begin with jury selection on Friday, April 8th at 9:00 a.m. in Starke Circuit Court.
According to court documents, on February 15th, 2010, Starke County officers went to a home at Bass Lake to serve an arrest warrant to Michael Drogosz, who allegedly planned an ambush on police when they served him the warrant. Kimberly Hitchens told police that Drogosz was not at the residence when they appeared. Drogosz was at the residence and in possession of assault rifles and incendiary devices and he did open fire on police with an assault weapon. An accomplice, James Reed, reportedly called John Brooke to come to the residence. He appeared carrying an assault rifle and wearing body armor.
Kimberly Hitchens appeared in Starke Circuit Court Wednesday morning for a plea hearing. Hitchens was reportedly involved in events surrounding the Bass Lake shooting incident with Starke County police that also involved Michael Drogosz and John Brooke. She has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, two counts of Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device (aiding), and Assisting a Criminal.
A special Prosecutor has been named for the joined trial of Kimberly Hitchens and John Brooke in Starke Circuit Court. Howard County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Michael Krebes, has been appointed to represent the State of Indiana. The request for a special Prosecutor was made by Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff as Bourff had previous consultations regarding representation of the defendants.
The trial scheduled for this February has been postponed allowing the Special Prosecutor time to prepare for trial.
A special Prosecutor will be called in for the trial of Kimberly Hitchens and John Brooke. Hitchens appeared before Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall on Friday where the defense requested a special Prosecutor for the proceedings due to a conflict of interest. Judge Hall granted the request. The special Prosecutor has not yet been named.
Judge Hall also granted a request that would combine Hitchens’ trial with John Brooke. Hitchens trial was to begin this month. The combined trial will begin Monday, February 21st.
Tony Kerby lost his life in the Yellow River attempting to save his younger brother’s life. The good looking boy went in the treacherous waters to save his 8-year-old brother Dominick when the youngster slipped off a rock. Dominick was saved when a person in the park pulled him to safety, but Tony could not swim to the banks.
Community members were so saddened by the death that a cross was put at the site to honor his efforts and his life. The memorial was created by Shelby Clemons of North Judson, his wife, Danielle, and Misty Baldridge of Knox.
For the past two weeks, we have been scrolling down the top 10 stories of the year 2010. Here is the top story of 2010:
It was like a shootout from the wild-west. On February 15th, two Starke County officers tried to serve a felony warrant on Michael Drogosz at Bass Lake.
After he failed to come out, officers called for a SWAT team. Before those officers could arrive, officers Don Ferguson and Bill Dulin took fire from inside the residence. With bullets whizzing too close for comfort, the officers fired back in self defense.
Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:
Pulaski County Officers elected into office in the General Election were sworn into office Tuesday afternoon. Officers were sworn in by Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn and Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship.
Starke United Executive Director, Edie Hall, told WKVI that the WKVI-Starke United Auction netted $7,669.
John Brooke, a suspect in events surrounding a shootout at Bass Lake in February, and his attorney, Dale Allen, told Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall Monday afternoon that they have failed to come to a satisfactory plea agreement with the court so they will move forward to trial.
The trial will begin on Monday, February 21st, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. CT and will last the week. Allen said there could be up to 50 witnesses called to take the stand. A final status hearing will be held on January 26th to ensure all paperwork is prepared for trial.