Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall sentenced John Brooke this morning. Brooke is the last of the suspects involved in the police shootout at Bass Lake in February 2010. Brooke was found guilty of six charges in a jury trial in April. Judge Hall categorized Brooke’s counts into three different criminal episodes and sentenced him according to those elements.
Brooke was sentenced to 15 years on the count of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and 4 years on the count of Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device. Those sentences will be served concurrently. Brooke was sentenced to 4 years on the Intimidation charge, 1 year on the Resisting Law Enforcement charge and 1 year on the Unlawful Use of Body Armor charge. Those sentences will run concurrently together. Brooke will serve 3 years on the Assisting a Criminal charge. All of those sentences will be served consecutively for a total of 22 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. None of the sentence was suspended and he will be credited for 452 already served in jail.
Judge Hall sentenced Brooke to the maximum sentence on the count of Assisting a Criminal because the Judge felt that Brooke gave Michael Drogosz, a known fugitive, an opportunity to use firearms that Brooke had at his home that Drogosz could have used to kill police officers.
Brooke’s Grandmother, Loretta, and Brooke’s mother, Debbie, spoke to Judge Hall and reminded him that Brooke had never been in trouble with the law before and that he really didn’t want to hurt anybody. Judge Hall took into consideration that Brooke had not been in trouble with the law as an adult, but did say that he did intend to carryout a plot to shoot and kill police and to rob banks in Starke County. Judge Hall stated that he felt that Brooke has anti-social behaviors. That, combined with his obsession with firearms and explosives and an anti-law enforcement attitude, the Judge determined that he is a risk to society. In this incident, he not only could have injured police, but also his neighbors and residents of Starke County.
Judge Hall did take into consideration that Brooke did not perjure himself while testifying in court. Judge Hall noted that during Kimberly Hitchens’ sentencing hearing, she admitted to perjury while testifying in Brooke’s trial, saying that she did purchase the ingredients for and manufactured molotov cocktails that were intended for use in the shootout with police. James Reed, a co-defendant, also committed perjury when he changed his stories while under oath.
Brooke made a statement in court where he told the Judge that he did not intend to hurt anybody, he made bad decisions and is sorry for the events that happened. He said he should have never let Michael Drogosz stay at his home and he will live with that decision for the rest of his life.