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

Suly Hayman Found Not Guilty

 A not guilty verdict was delivered following a one-day trial in Starke Circuit Court.

The defendant, Suly Hayman, 29, of Knox was accused of felony battery in an incident stemming from November 2013. The state called four witnesses while the defense called three witnesses, including the defendant. The trial took place on Wednesday.

Six jurors heard testimony in the case.

Furlong Sentenced to Five Years on Home Detention

 A Knox man received a sentence of five years on home detention after pleading guilty to charges in two different cases in Starke Circuit Court.

Nathaniel Furlong admitted to a probation violation and was sentenced to four years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with no part of the sentence suspended. He was permitted to serve his sentence on home detention with electronic monitoring with Starke County Community Corrections.

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New Trial Date Set in James Campbell Case

 An October trial date has been set for the owner of a Knox business destroyed by fire last March, but that may change.

A jury last month in Starke County Recycling owner James Campbell’s arson trial deadlocked after 12 hours of deliberations. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan and Campbell’s attorneys agreed to set aside two weeks for a new trial starting Oct. 19. However Campbell’s attorney says he has not been paid yet and may withdraw as counsel if payment isn’t made within 30 days. If that happens a new trial date will be set. Campbell was ordered to appear at the next status conference on May 27.

Plea Hearing Set in Attempted Murder Case

Benton Chrisopher Howard
Benton Christopher Howard

A plea hearing has been set in Starke Circuit Court for a man accused of stabbing a Knox resident in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 30.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Benton Christopher Howard and Brandon Davidson got into an argument at a home in Knox which escalated to a physical confrontation. Howard allegedly unsheathed a knife and stabbed Davidson in the chest. Davidson was taken to the hospital with a collapsed lung and damage to his heart.

Howard is charged with attempted murder as a Level 1 felony and aggravated battery as a Level 3 felony.

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