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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Katrina Schoeder Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

 A woman was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to a felony charge in Starke Circuit Court.

Katrina Schoeder pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to a charge of maintaining a common nuisance as a Level 6 felony. She was sentenced per the terms of that agreement to 18 months in the Indiana Department of Corrections with all of the sentence suspended to be served on probation.

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Surgery Delays Murder Trial, Prompts Reevaluation of Jail Medical Contract

  A murder trial scheduled to start April 13 in Starke Circuit Court has been pushed back to at least July so the defendant can have surgery deemed medically necessary by a provider under contract with the county. Gary Chavez is accused of beating his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at their rural California Township home last June. From there police say he drove to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center, kidnapped an employee and drove to English Lake where he’s accused of stealing a second vehicle. Chavez then led police on a high-speed chase into LaPorte and Porter Counties, according to court records. He’s accused of stealing a third vehicle in Kouts and continuing into Lake County. Police there say Chavez shot himself in the face when officers in Crown Point managed to stop his vehicle. He was airlifted to a Chicagoland area hospital and released to the custody of the Starke County Sheriff last August. Chavez remains in jail. Continue reading

Nies to Appear for Initial Hearing

Luther Nies
Luther Nies

A Knox man accused of felony attempted child seduction and child solicitation is scheduled to appear in Starke Circuit Court today for an initial hearing.

Luther Nies, 25, was arrested on a warrant Wednesday morning on the charges that stem from alleged actions in Feb. 2013. According to court documents, Nies attempted to molest a five-year-old child. Knox City Police Department officers placed Nies into custody without incident and he remains in the Starke County Jail on a $35,000 surety bond.

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