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Today's News

Hitchens Receives Sentence for Assisting a Criminal

Kimberly Hitchens

Hitchens, after her sentencing, is escorted back to the jail.

Kimberly Hitchens received her sentence Tuesday morning in the Starke Circuit Court. Hitchens plead guilty to one count of Assisting a Criminal, a Class D Felony, which carries a sentence between 6 months to 3 years in the Department of Corrections.

Judge Kim Hall noted a few aggravating factors, as well as mitigating factors, in the case. Judge Hall stated that while Hitchens was called as a witness, she lied under oath, thereby committing perjury in the courtroom. He also noted that since Hitchens admitted there was a conspiracy, and that three others had been convicted of conspiracy to commit armed robbery from the same incident, Hitchens’ criminal activity far exceeded the crime for which she has been convicted. Judge Hall also mentioned two mitigating factors: she had previously lived free of crime for a reasonable amount of time, and she did admit to the conspiracy.

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Brooke Found Guilty on 6 of 7 Counts, Including Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery

John Brooke is escorted back to the Starke County jail after testimony is heard in his jury trial

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.

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Brooke’s Trial Continues, Defense Calls Character Witnesses

John Brooke

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.

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Top 10 Stories of 2010; Story #1

Michael Drogosz

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.

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