Today's News

Two Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

 Two defendants were sentenced in Starke Circuit Court on Monday morning.

Winford Hensley II pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state on three charges in three different cases: habitual traffic violator, possession by a meth offender and resisting law enforcement. Judge Kim Hall accepted the plea agreement.

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Building Corporation, Commissioners Discuss Courthouse Renovations

starke-county-courthouseMoney to renovate the second floor of the Starke County Courthouse could come from the county economic development income tax funds used to pay for the new jail. At that time the existing jail across from the courthouse will be renovated to accommodate Starke County Community Corrections and the probation department. Plans call for the prosecutor’s office to move from the basement of the current jail into the courthouse and the current clerk’s office to be renovated. Continue reading

Woman Sentenced for Her Part in Battery Incident

  A woman accused of assisting a suspect in a battery incident at Wythogan Park in Knox in July was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court on Thursday.

Samantha Smith, 19, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to a charge of assisting a criminal as a Level 6 felony. She drove a car with the battery suspect as a passenger from the scene of the crime. That suspect had struck another teenager in the head. The force of the impact caused the teenager to fall to the ground where his head hit a cement walkway and caused serious injury.

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Miltenberger Sentenced to Three Years in the DOC

 Charles Miltenberger III, 23, pleaded guilty in plea agreements with the state to three counts in two different cases in Starke Circuit Court on Wednesday morning.

Miltenberger pleaded guilty in one case to Class D felony counts of auto theft and arson. He admitted that he stole a 1999 Grand Prix on the side of the road by Hamlet on May 12, 2014. He also admitted that he set that vehicle on fire.

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Arguments Taken under Advisement in Campbell Case

 Testimony was given in a hearing in Starke Circuit Court to suppress evidence in the case of James Campbell.

It is alleged that Campbell set fire to his business, C&C Salvage, also known as Starke County Recycling, at the intersection of Toto Road and U.S. 35 on March 20. Campbell is charged with a Class A felony count of arson.

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Randall Stone Sentenced to Work Release

 Randall Stone was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court on Thursday.

Stone, 45, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to an amended count of possession of methamphetamine as a Class D felony. He told Judge Kim Hall that he possessed the drug while in a car during a traffic stop in North Judson on Sept. 17, 2012.

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Two Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

 Two defendants were sentenced in Starke Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Carter Scutchfield pleaded guilty to an amended charge of receiving stolen auto parts as a Class D felony. The sentence was presented as an agreed recommendation to Judge Kim Hall. Per that recommendation, Scutchfield was sentenced to 26 months in the Indiana Department of Corrections with no part of the sentence suspended.

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Jury Returns Verdicts in Starke Circuit Court

 A jury trial has concluded in Starke Circuit Court.

Curtis DeVries was found not guilty on a charge of burglary, but he was found guilty on a lesser included offense of residential entry, a Class D felony. The jury also found DeVries guilty on a charge of criminal mischief as a Class A misdemeanor.

The trial began Wednesday morning and the jury began deliberations at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday. They returned with the verdicts shortly after noon on Thursday.

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Trial Set in Starke Circuit Court

 Curtis DeVries will be on trial in Starke Circuit Court.

DeVries was arrested in February of this year for his alleged involvement in a burglary that was reported at a home in Starke County. DeVries has pleaded not guilty to charges of burglary as a Class B felony and criminal mischief as a Class A misdemeanor.

The state, represented by Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff, will attempt to prove that DeVries committed the elements of those charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Defense attorney, Steve Bohm, will attempt to prove DeVries’ innocence in the matter.

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Defendant Sentenced under New Felony Classification

  A defendant will serve time on probation after his case was settled in Starke Circuit Court on Monday.

Ethan Hill pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to a charge of theft as a Level 6 felony. Judge Kim Hall accepted the plea agreement which called for 12 months in the Indiana Department of Corrections with 12 months suspended to be served on probation.

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Walkerton Woman Sentenced to Probation

 A Walkerton woman was sentenced on a reduced charge in Starke Circuit Court Thursday morning.

Tamara Esparza pleaded guilty to an amended charge of neglect of a dependent as a felony. However, due to her lack of a criminal record, her cooperation with a drug investigation and her ability to do what’s best for her situation and her daughter, the felony count was reduced to a misdemeanor as ordered by Judge Kim Hall. The order was also made so she could remain gainfully employed.

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Royce Sentenced to Six Years in DOC

  A Knox man with an extensive criminal history is headed back to prison for the sixth time in his life.

James Royce, 44, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to felony charges of residential entry and escape and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief in two separate cases. The state and defense argued Royce’s sentence to Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall.

In one case, Royce admitted that he forced his way into his aunt’s home without an invitation. In the second case, he admitted to escaping the custody of a jailer who was escorting him from the courthouse to the Starke County Jail. Royce had appeared for a hearing in Starke Circuit Court and Judge Hall ordered him back to jail. Royce admitted that he “panicked” and ran. The jailer suffered an injury chasing after Royce. Royce was apprehended approximately 20 minutes after he escaped custody. He also admitted to tampering with the GPS ankle bracelet he was wearing as he had been on home detention through Starke County Community Corrections.

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Obomsawin Sentenced to Six Years in DOC

 A South Bend man was sentenced Tuesday morning in Starke Circuit Court after pleading guilty to an amended count of child molesting as a Class C felony.

A plea recommendation was offered in the case of Adam Obomsawin which Judge Kim Hall accepted. Judge Hall sentenced Obomsawin, 36, to six years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with two years suspended to be served on probation. In addition, Obomsawin was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment. Upon the successful completion of that course, he may petition the court for a modification of the sentence. He is to have no contact with the victim during the execution of his sentence.

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Chavez to Receive Court Appointed Attorney

 Gary Chavez told Judge Pro Tem Daniel Murphy in Starke Circuit Court Friday morning that he will not be able to afford a private attorney.

A status hearing was held in his case on Friday to see where Chavez was in terms of obtaining counsel. He hasn’t been represented since he appeared for his initial hearing in August. Murphy informed Chavez that a court appointed attorney will be assigned to his case.

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Judge Sets Bond for Suspect in High-Speed Chase

The Grovertown man accused of backing into a Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy during an attempted traffic stop before leading officers on a high-speed chase through two counties last week is jailed on a $250,000 surety bond. Paul Thomas Coffin, 34, of Grovertown, pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial hearing in Starke Circuit Court. Continue reading

Chavez to Appear for Another Attorney Status Hearing

 The man accused of beating his estranged wife to death at his home in Knox, kidnapping an employee at gunpoint and fleeing in a vehicle from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson and carjacking a vehicle from a residence in English Lake at gunpoint on June 6 was in court Friday morning to see if he has secured counsel.

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Taylor Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court Friday morning.

Taylor was on trial for two days in Starke Circuit Court in August which ended with not guilty verdicts on charges of dealing in methamphetamine and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine. The jury was deadlocked on counts of possession of methamphetamine, possession of a syringe, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of paraphernalia.

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Lenig Found Not Guilty

 A jury found John Lenig not guilty on two charges in a two-day trial in Starke Circuit Court.

Lenig was facing charges of burglary as a Class C felony and criminal mischief as a misdemeanor. A 12-member jury found Lenig not guilty on both counts in a little over an hour. The verdict came in shortly before 1 p.m. on Thursday.

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Gary Chavez to Appear in Court for Hearing

  Gary Chavez will appear in Starke Circuit Court this morning for an attorney status hearing.

Chavez last appeared in court for an initial hearing on Aug. 25 where he pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping and carjacking. He appeared without an attorney but stated that his family was working on getting an attorney to represent him. Today’s hearing will determine where that process stands.

Chavez, 57, is accused of beating his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at his home in Knox, kidnapping an employee at gunpoint and fleeing in a vehicle from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson and carjacking a vehicle from a residence in English Lake at gunpoint on June 6.

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Lenig Trial Continues in Starke Circuit Court

  The trial of John Lenig continues today in Starke Circuit Court.

Lenig has been charged with burglary as a Class C felony and criminal mischief as a misdemeanor charge. The jury was selected yesterday and testimony by the state’s witness and the defense will move forward today.

Three days have been set aside in the court’s calendar for the trial. WKVI News will have the verdict after it is delivered in court.

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