The Starke County Park Board welcomed two new members Tuesday. Attorney Richard Ballard was appointed to the board by Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall, following the resignation of Roger Chaffins. Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler had been appointed by the county council back in January, replacing Debbie Mix. Ballard and Ritzler both took their seats on the park board for the first time Tuesday, during the board’s first official meeting since last September.Continue reading
Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall accepted several negotiated plea agreement between the state and the defense during a hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
The races are set for May’s primary elections. In Starke County, one hotly-contested office is county clerk. Current auditor Kay Chaffins is challenging incumbent Vicki Cooley for the Democratic party nomination. The winner would presumably face Republican Bernadette Welter-Manuel in November’s general election.
The woman charged in connection with last month’s murder of a Knox man will remain in jail for at least another week. Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall denied a request by Augusta Hadden’s attorney to reduce her bond from $200,000 surety. Continue reading
A Knox man who admitted to molesting a 13-year-old boy in February at his Heaton Street home is heading to prison. Continue reading
A jury trial is set to begin today in the case of Michael Salita.
Salita, 28, was arrested on Aug. 14, 2014 on a charge of rape as a Level 3 felony. Jury selection of 12 jurors and one alternate will be held beginning at 9 a.m. followed by opening statements by both Deputy Prosecutor Autumn Ferch and defense attorney Richard Ballard.
The state is anticipated to call up to four witnesses while the defense will have five witnesses to testify in the case. The only motion that Ballard made to the court was that all witnesses be separated during the trial.
The trial is expected to take two days in Starke Circuit Court. The jury will deliberate after all testimony and closing statements are given.
Brad Allen is facing charges of dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony, and possession of precursors and/or chemical reagents, a Class D felony. The alleged incident occurred on June 3, 2013.
A 12-member jury will be seated this morning and opening statements and witness testimony will occur following the seating of the jury.
Defendants Sadie Wireman and her son, Michael, will have their cases joined for a single trial in Starke Circuit Court.
The pair face methamphetamine-related charges. Plea agreements were rejected for the Medaryville duo on June 6th when Michael Wireman did not comply with the requirements with the probation department before his court hearing and Sadie Wireman claimed not to know what methamphetamine was. Judge Kim Hall said he would not accept a guilty plea from her if she didn’t know what the drug was in which she allegedly possessed.
A Starke County jury took just one hour to decide verdicts in the case of James Ritenour III.
The one-day trial occurred Wednesday in Starke Circuit Court and a 12 member jury found James Ritenour III not guilty on charges of Battery with a Deadly Weapon, a Class C Felony, and Criminal Recklessness, a Class D Felony. He was found guilty on two counts of Intimidation, as Class D Felonies, and one count of Interference with Reporting a Crime, a Class A Misdemeanor.
A plea agreement was thrown out of court yesterday for Jenny Keeton, charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor as a Class C Felony and Dealing in a Scheduled II Controlled Substance as a Class A felony.
The agreement requested Keeton serve four years in the Department of Corrections with two of those years suspended, to be served on home detention followed by probation. The Class A Felony, which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years, would be dismissed. Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall rejected the agreement, saying he has no reason to accept an agreement with probation because he believes her extensive past, including 16 prior charges with several violations of probation, disqualifies her for the privilege.
A status hearing was set for March 9 to allow Keeton’s attorney, Richard Ballard, to form a new plea agreement with Prosecutor Nick Bourff that would appease Judge Hall.
Keeton admitted in court to encouraging her niece to take methadone, a controlled substance, while she stayed at her home. Keeton said she told the girl to take the medication because she was suffering of pain—but Judge Hall said he didn’t buy her version of the story.
Facing eleven charges, four of which are Class A felonies, Shelby Thomas appeared in the Starke Circuit Court for a plea hearing. Defense Attorney Richard Ballard and Prosecutor Nick Bourff previously told the court that they plan to resolve the matter without the need of a jury trial, which was set for February 8th.
Robert Reed made his initial appearance in court yesterday, where he pleaded not guilty to Robbery as a Class B felony, Receiving Stolen Property as a Class D felony, Resisting Law Enforcement as both a Class D felony and a Class A misdemeanor, and Habitual Traffic Violator.
Fred Boggess II received his sentence in the Starke Circuit Court Wednesday after being found guilty by jury of Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Possession of Chemical Reagents or Precursors, Driving While Suspended, and False Informing. His sentencing took place in the Oregon-Davis High School.
During the sentencing, defense attorney Richard Ballard called Boggess’ mother, Dolores Boggess, to the stand. Dolores told the court that Boggess saved her life over the past year by taking care of her and doing odd jobs to help pay the bills. She said he did “everything he could” to help her.
A Knox man’s scheduled trial for today has been canceled in a surprise move by the defendant, Jose Santiago, Jr.
Santiago yesterday in Starke Circuit Court plead guilty without any plea agreement to charges relating to an indoor marijuana growing operation in February of this year.
Police Officers from Knox, Starke County and the Indiana State Police conducted a raid on the illegal operation at 207 Roosevelt Road in Knox and seized 78 marijuana plants in the raid.