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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Testimony Concludes in Salvage Yard Arson Trial


The fate of a Knox man accused of setting his businesses on fire will soon be in the hands of a jury. The defense in James Campbell’s arson trial rested at 4:16 p.m. Tuesday after calling three witnesses. The first, a former ATF agent turned fire investigation consultant, questioned whether the fire that destroyed Campbell’s Tire Barn, Starke County Recycling and C&C Salvage on U.S. 35 south of Toto Road last March was deliberately set. Mike Vergon has operated a private fire investigation practice in Indianapolis for the past two-and-a-half years. He visited the burned out business on June 23 and Oct. 2 of last year. Vergon testified burn patterns don’t help with origin and cause determinations with damage as extensive as what he saw and said it’s his opinion the cause cannot be determined without good witness corroboration. Continue reading

Testimony Puts Salvage Yard Owner at Business Minutes Before Fire


Video evidence introduced in the arson trial of a Knox businessman indicates he was the last person to leave the property and did so minutes before the first smoke was visible. James Campbell owns Starke County Recycling, Campbell’s Tire Barn and C&C Salvage on U.S. 35 south of Toto Road in Knox. The businesses caught fire just after 5 p.m. on March 20, 2014. Then-Chief Investigator Kenny Pfost from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department testified Campbell left the business at 4:59 p.m. and pulled into his driveway next door. He left his house at 5:02 p.m., and the first smoke was spotted on the video 40-seconds later. Video also indicates two employees left just before Campbell did. Continue reading

Final State’s Witnesses Scheduled to Testify in Arson Trial


The final witnesses for the state are set to testify today in the arson trial of a Knox businessman. James Campbell is accused of setting fire to the buildings that housed his tire shop and recycling center at the corner of U.S. 35 and Toto Road last March. On Friday Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan indicated she plans to call three additional witnesses. The witnesses for the defense will testify tomorrow, and closing arguments are anticipated on Wednesday. Campbell is charged with arson as a Class A felony and faces between 20 and 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. Continue reading

Investigators Testify in Salvage Yard Arson Trial


The arson trial of a Knox man whose business went up in flames a year ago yesterday will resume Monday morning. A pair of investigators from the state fire marshal’s office testified in James Campbell’s trial yesterday. They both took part in the investigation in the fire that destroyed the buildings Campbell owns at the intersection of U.S. 35 and Toto Road which were home to C&C Salvage, Starke County Recycling and Campbell’s Tire Barn and Shop. Both agree the fires were set and started in two areas of the shop. Continue reading