Two Plead Guilty in Starke Circuit Court

Mark Griffin

With his trial only a day away, Mark Griffin told the Starke Circuit Court that he would like to plead guilty. No plea agreement was submitted, but Griffin told Judge Kim Hall that a recommendation had been agreed on by Prosecutor Nick Bourff and Defense Attorney Richard Ballard. Griffin said that he no longer wants to take his case to trial because he has been unable to get in contact with the witnesses he had planned to bring forward.

Judge Hall was not pleased with this development, and told Griffin that jury notices had already been sent out—hours of work goes in to getting a jury to the courtroom, Hall said, and he should have said something sooner.

Griffin is facing charges of failing to register as a sex offender within 72 hours of changing his primary address after he had moved to Bass Lake. Hall agreed to vacate the trial date and accept his plea of guilty, but requested that a pre-sentence investigation report be conducted for Griffin. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 10 at 1:30 p.m.

Richard Garrison

Richard Garrison, Jr., was convicted of Class C Battery in the Starke Circuit Court yesterday once his plea agreement had been accepted. Other charges were dismissed as part of the agreement, including one count of Criminal Confinement because the state felt they would have a hard time prosecuting that charge.

The victim in the case told Bourff that she felt a four year sentence in the Department of Corrections was acceptable, with two of those years to be suspended and served on probation. Judge Hall told Garrison that if it were up to him, and the prosecutors as well as the victim had not recommended that sentence, he would have been much worse off. In addition to Garrison’s four year sentence, he will undergo an assessment by Community Corrections and agree to any treatment options recommended, as well as attend a batterer’s intervention program and substance abuse counseling.