Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

May 3, 2013

Plea deal nets 65 years for teen killer

GOSHEN — A Goshen teen pleaded guilty in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday to murdering an elderly woman late last year.

Luis A. Bailey, 18, 19751 C.R. 18, admitted he killed Norma Jean Hopper, 76, 54640 Michael Drive, Elkhart, in her home Dec. 21 during a break-in. The murder weapon was a fence post from her yard, Bailey said under questioning.

Bailey will receive a 65-year prison sentence under the terms of his plea deal. In return, prosecutors won’t seek life in prison for Bailey without the possibility of parole.

Authorities have said that at the time of the murder, Bailey was spending the night with his girlfriend, who lived near the Hopper home. The girlfriend later told police Bailey left the residence around 2 a.m.

Responding to questions from Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vicki Becker, Bailey said he went to the Hopper residence.

“I looked in the house from the outside” and saw car keys, Bailey said from the witness stand, a cross hanging from a necklace around his neck. He rang the doorbell, and someone turned lights on.

Bailey left the Hopper home, but later returned. He said he entered through a window, with a post taken from a fence in Hopper’s yard as well as scissors.

“(Hopper) was going to get up out of bed,” Bailey said of what happened when he was inside the home. “...I beat her to death.”

Bailey said he left the home with a bag of change, car keys and jewelry. He drove away from the scene in Hopper’s 1998 Lumina. The vehicle was later found abandoned in Michigan.

Around 10:30 a.m. Dec. 21, Hopper’s niece, Gaylene Beaird, called police. Beaird said she’d entered her aunt’s home and found Hopper dead.

Bailey admitted telling people including his brother and a friend what he’d done. Brought in for questioning, he also told police, and led investigators to the murder weapon.

“Why did you do this?,” Becker asked Bailey of his crime.

“I couldn’t tell you,” Bailey replied. He did indicate he was trying to get money to buy marijuana. The teen also said he suffers from depression and anxiety.

Bailey is due to be sentenced in Circuit Court May 30.

Initial hearing

In other court proceedings, a Bristol man accused of killing his business partner had his initial hearing.

Todd A. Stewart, 35, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a charge of murder. Prosecutors allege that he killed tattoo shop owner Mark A. Miller, 44, Elkhart in September 2012.

Judge Terry Shewmaker appointed a public defender to represent Stewart. The judge also set a trial date of Sept. 9.

Miller’s body was found in a barrel near the Six Span Bridge in Elkhart on Sept. 20, 2012. Prosecutors say Miller had been shot to death before his body was placed in the barrel.

Earlier this week, Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill stated that a “business associate” of the two men reported seeing Stewart shoot Miller behind the tattoo shop they owned along U.S. 33 in Dunlap. The witness then reportedly helped load Miller’s body into a barrel in the back of Stewart’s pickup truck. Miller’s disappearance was reported by his sister, Dawn Miller, to Elkhart County police Sept. 10.

Stewart is incarcerated in the Elkhart County jail without bond.

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Kulp is new Goshen softball coach Brent Kulp was hired as the new Goshen High School softball coach at Monday night’s school board meeting. He was a physical education and health teacher in the Baugo Community Schools for 18 years and head softball coach at Jimtown High School for 15 seasons. Under his direction, Jimtown earned five Northern State Conference championships, five sectional titles and two regional titles and his teams compiled an overall record of 285-133-1.

    July 28, 2014

  • Middlebury man burned in water heater blast 
 MIDDLEBURY — Authorities say a Middlebury man has been hospitalized after he was injured when a water heater exploded. Firefighters tell WSBT-TV the man in his 20s was trying to light a water heater that had run out of gas and used too much fuel. The

    July 26, 2014

  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cat beaten to death in burglary

    A house cat was found beaten to death following a burglary at a home in Howe Sunday.

    July 21, 2014

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results