Today's News

Family Dollar Store Manager Charged with Theft

 The General Manager at the Family Dollar store in Knox pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft in an initial hearing in Starke Circuit Court yesterday.

Casey Anthony, 28, of South Bend, is accused of stealing $19,430.31 from the store in a one-time theft in between March and April of this year. Anthony was arrested on Tuesday, Nov. 25 and has since has bonded out of jail on a $5,000 surety bond. Anthony told Judge Kim Hall that he is working on retaining an attorney to defend him.

North Judson Resident Sentenced to Probation

  Julie Serrano was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to a felony charge of resisting law enforcement and a misdemeanor charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

Serrano pleaded guilty to those charges in a plea agreement with the state which Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall accepted. Serrano was sentenced to 24 months in the Indiana Department of Corrections with all of the sentence suspended to be served on probation. She was sentenced to six months in the Starke County Jail on the charge of battery on a law enforcement officer with all of the time suspended to be served on probation. Those sentences will be served consecutively.

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Jeremy Rowe Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

 A man who was involved in a burglary incident in December 2011 was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court yesterday.

Jeremy Rowe pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state on charges of burglary and receiving stolen property as Class B felonies. The court accepted the agreement where Rowe was sentenced to 15 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with three years suspended to be served on probation on the charge of burglary. The remaining 12 years was permitted to be served on LaPorte County Work Release.

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Domestic Violence Defendant Sentenced to Probation

 A man was sentenced to probation in a hearing in Starke Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon.

William Jones pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to a charge of domestic battery as a Class D felony. Judge Kim Hall accepted the plea agreement and Jones was sentenced to 18 months in the Indiana Department of Corrections with the entire sentence suspended to be served on probation. Jones must pay a $50 domestic violence fee along with court costs.

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Trial Date Set for Accused Murderer

 A trial date has been set in the case of a man who is accused of murdering his estranged wife.

Gary Chavez appeared for a status hearing in Starke Circuit Court on Monday afternoon with his attorneys, Leslie Baker and Dave Welter. Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff indicated that there were some discovery issues with several pieces of evidence. Dave Welter told the judge that some medical reports are also needed and Chavez may require another surgery.

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Curtis DeVries Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

  Curtis DeVries was sentenced Monday afternoon in Starke Circuit Court.

A 12-member jury found Curtis DeVries 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 verdicts came in on Friday, Oct. 24.

Judge Kim Hall told DeVries Monday that he has a large drinking problem that he needs to get under control. Judge Hall stated that if he hadn’t have consumed such a large amount of alcohol on the night of this event, he wouldn’t be in court facing a sentence.

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Probation Given to Hard-Working North Judson Man

 A good employment record and a commitment to help his mother with Alzheimers were just a couple of factors in Russell Hendron’s favor when it came to his sentencing hearing in Starke Circuit Court.

Hendron was charged with maintaining a common nuisance and possession of methamphetamine. Hendron took the stand where he explained that he had held at position at a North Judson business for three decades. He left his long-time employment to care for his mother who moved into his home after being diagnosed with Alzheimers. He said that he’s been working out of his home attempting to make ends meet. He accepted that fact that what he did was wrong and is ready to put this behind him.

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Status Hearing Scheduled Today for Murder Defendant

A murder defendant is scheduled to appear in Starke Circuit Court this afternoon for a status hearing. Gary Chavez is charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking. Authorities say he killed his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, at their rural Knox home on June 6, drove to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center, left his car and kidnapped a store employee at gunpoint. Continue reading

Jury Returns Not Guilty Verdict in Intimidation Trial

 A jury in Starke Circuit Court returned a not guilty verdict against a criminal defendant. Heather Ferch was originally charged with intimidation as a Class C felony in connection with an incident in May of this year. After the state’s four witnesses testified, Ferch’s attorney moved to have the case dismissed due to an absence of evidence.

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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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