Chavez Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

 Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall sentenced the Knox man convicted last month of murdering his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and carjacking an English Lake couple last June to 105 years in prison with no time suspended. Continue reading

Chavez Sentencing Scheduled Today

 The Knox man convicted last month of murdering his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and carjacking an English Lake couple last June will learn his fate today. Gary Chavez is due in Starke Circuit Court for a sentencing hearing this morning. A jury of eight men and four women returned guilty verdicts after about 90 minutes of deliberations. Defense attorney David Welter argued unsuccessfully for a conviction of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kimberly Chavez of Portage and of auto theft instead of carjacking. Continue reading

Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts Against Chavez

 A jury of eight women and four men deliberated for about 90 minutes Friday night before returning guilty verdicts against Gary Chavez. He’s the Knox man accused of murdering his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez of Portage, at his rural California Township home last June 6th, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and carjacking a couple in English Lake. Continue reading

Murder Defendant Testifies, Closing Arguments Anticipated This Afternoon

 The fate of a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and stealing another vehicle in English Lake will soon be in the hands of a jury. Closing arguments are anticipated later today in the trial of Gary Chavez.

He was the lone witness for the defense and offered an often emotional account of his relationship with victim Kimberly Chavez. He said he felt “totally different” from the first time he went out with her and described their marriage as happy, affectionate and loving. Chavez admitted they argued about her son and some about money toward the end of their relationship. According to him they separated for 35 days about a decade into their marriage but reconciled and all was forgiven. Continue reading

State Rests in Murder Trial, Chavez Testimony Expected Tomorrow

 The state has rested its case in the trial of a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife. Defendant Gary Chavez is expected to take the stand tomorrow morning as a witness for the defense. He’s also charged with kidnapping and carjacking in connection with the events that occurred on June 6, 2014. The Starke County Sheriff’s Office got a 911 call at 3:37 that afternoon from a man in English Lake reporting a carjacking. Earlier testimony indicates that’s where Chavez left kidnapping victim Bryant Wagner when his car ran out of gas. Det. Rob Olejniczak from the Starke County Sheriff’s Office testified that based on information from Wagner he went to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and found the pickup truck Chavez left in the parking lot. Continue reading

State Could Rest in Murder Trial Today

 The state could wrap up its case this afternoon against a Knox man charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking. They’ve called 12 witnesses so far to testify against Gary Chavez. He’s accused of killing his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, at his rural Knox home last June 6th, driving his pickup truck to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center, kidnapping an employee at gunpoint, driving his car to English Lake and stealing a Jeep Grand Cherokee from a couple there. Continue reading

Kidnapping Victim Testifies in Chavez Trial

 The Knox man who claims he was kidnapped from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center last June by a murder suspect was the first witness to testify in his trial. Gary Chavez is also on trial for kidnapping and carjacking stemming from a June 6, 2014 incident. He’s accused of stabbing his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at his rural California Township home, driving to Mark Bailey’s and kidnapping employee Bryant Wagner at gunpoint as he sat in his 2005 Monte Carlo in the store parking lot. Continue reading

Opening Arguments Scheduled Today in Starke County Murder Trial

 The state will begin presenting its case today against the Knox man who is accused of killing his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and stealing a car from a couple in English Lake. Gary Chavez is on trial for murder, kidnapping and carjacking in connection with the June 6, 2014 incidents. His trial started yesterday with jury selection, which took the entire day. Continue reading

Judge Sets Trial for Man Accused of Fleeing from Cops

  A Grovertown man who is accused of backing his car into a Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy following a high-speed chase will go to trial next month on charges stemming from that incident.

Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall yesterday rejected a second guilty plea from 35-year-old Paul Coffin. He’s charged with possession of methamphetamine, resisting law enforcement, operating a vehicle dangerously while intoxicated and possession of pseudoephedrine by a meth offender in connection with the Sept. 3 incident on U.S. 30 at 1100 East. Continue reading

Judge Accepts Pleas, Sentences Three Defendants

 Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall yesterday accepted plea agreements and sentenced three defendants. Dakota Rousch, 19, of Knox, was sentenced to two years in prison for attempted theft, two years in prison for assisting a criminal and two years in prison for residential entry. The sentences are to run consecutively, for a total of six years, with no time suspended. That sentence can be served on work release through Pulaski County. Continue reading

Murder Trial on Schedule in Starke Circuit Court

Gary Chavez is charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking in Starke County. Investigators say he killed Kimberly Chavez of Portage on June 6th, drove his personal vehicle to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center on State Road 10 and kidnapped an employee. From there Chavez allegedly drove to English Lake where he’s accused of stealing another vehicle at gunpoint. Continue reading

Arson Defendant Comes to Court Late Without an Attorney

 A Knox man whose business burned under suspicious circumstances in March of 2014 is still looking for an attorney to represent him in his upcoming arson trial. James Campbell’s two defense attorneys withdrew from his case in early June, citing nonpayment for legal services. He’s accused of setting fire to Starke County Recycling at the corner of U.S. 35 and Toto Road. The jury in Campbell’s March arson trial was unable to reach a verdict after 12 hours of deliberations. Continue reading

Judge Resets Sentencing for Attempted Murder Defendant

Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall has reset the sentencing hearing for an attempted murder defendant with a fuzzy memory to give his attorneys more time to draft a stipulation agreement. It will detail the facts as defendant Benton Christopher Howard, 42, remembers them as to what happened at a home in the Parkview Heights area of Knox last Nov. 30. Howard is accused of critically stabbing Brandon Davidson, damaging his heart and collapsing his lung. He is set to plead guilty to a lesser battery offense. Continue reading

Knox Man Sentenced on Drug Possession Charge

  A Knox man who pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance will serve two years on probation for the offense. Officers at the Starke County Jail found two Xanax  pills inside the sock of 54-year-old Jerry Sons while searching him during the booking process on Feb. 22, 2014. Continue reading