Sentences Handed Down in Starke Circuit Court

Shelby Thomas

After pleading guilty to two counts of Intimidation as a Class C felony, Shelby Thomas received his sentence in the Starke Circuit Court Thursday. Thomas had pleaded guilty to the felonies and admitted to threatening to kill Officers James Upsall and Dave Combs while armed with a 10-inch knife.

Thomas was sentenced to seven and a half years for each charge to be served consecutively, giving him a sentence of 15 years in the Department of Corrections. The court recommended to the DOC that he be entered into the CLIFF program. None of his sentence was suspended.

Donald Kissinger of La Paz also received his sentence in the Starke Circuit Court. Kissinger was arrested after wrecking a moped and causing the passenger to strike her head on the concrete, putting her in critical condition at South Bend Memorial Hospital. He was found to be intoxicated and did not have a valid license.

Kissinger was sentenced to four years in the DOC, with none of that sentence suspended, for an enhanced charge of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Serious Bodily Injury With a Previous Conviction. His driver’s license was also suspended for an additional year.

Rhonda Gayheart

Home detention was denied for Rhonda Gayheart, who previously pleaded guilty to Burglary as a Class B felony after breaking into an apartment in Knox and stealing electronics. Magistrate Jeanene Calabrese denied home detention for Gayheart’s sentence because of new theft charges that were filed against her while she was out on bond. Gayheart was sentenced to six years in the DOC, with three years of that sentence suspended. She is required to pay $573 in restitution.