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.

The attempted theft charge stems from a Feb. 25, 2014 incident at CVS in Knox. Rousch admitted trying to take a bottle of Malibu Rum without paying. He was stopped and subsequently arrested. Court documents also indicate on July 21, 2014 Rousch drove the getaway car for a 13-year-old who severely beat another youngster at Wythogan Park in Knox. Three days later he broke into a house in the 2200 block of east 200 South.

Judge Hall told Rousch his pre-sentencing report indicates he is at a high risk of reoffending. Rousch said he disagrees and intends to prove that assessment wrong. The judge also ordered him to complete his GED as a condition of his sentence.

The second defendant, Rickie Clemons, 20, of Knox, was sentenced to 24 months in prison on a February theft charge. He admitted stealing chain saws, power tools and other items from a home near Chesapeake Run Golf Course in North Judson. Clemons admitted stashing the items in a nearby shed. He and his co-defendant were arrested a short time after the theft occurred, according to court documents. A year of Clemons sentence will be served in the Department of Corrections, with the second year on probation. He’s been in jail since his arrest and will be given credit for time served. Judge Hall also ordered Clemons to complete his GED and pay restitution to the Starke County Sheriff’s Office.

In the third case, Susan Risner, 19, of Knox, was sentenced to 13 months in prison for fraud. Court documents indicate she found a debit card in a gas station parking lot in April and used it for three days to purchase gas, food and other items at several businesses in Knox. Judge Hall noted Risner does not have a prior criminal record. Her sentence is suspended and will be served on probation. Risner was also ordered to pay $559 in restitution to the issuing bank. That amount covers the money she spent as well as fees charged to the owner of the card when her mortgage company automatically withdrew money for her monthly payment, causing her account to be overdrawn. If Risner successfully completes her sentence she can petition the court to have it reduced to a misdemeanor offense.