Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 11, 2013

Man pleads guilty to Elkhart store slayings

Goshen News

---- — An Elkhart man pleaded guilty to counts of murder Monday shortly before his trial was scheduled to begin.

Richard Carl Gross, 23, admitted his involvement in the Sept. 5 slayings of Pawan Singh, 20, and Jagtar Singh Bhatti, 55, during a robbery at Saleh’s Market. The men were employees at the store, located at the corner of Middlebury and Madison streets in Elkhart.

A co-defendant in the case, Kevin L. Moore, 28, Elkhart, is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 3. Prosecutors allege it was Moore who actually shot the men to death.

Gross was charged under the legal doctrine of felony murder. Under Indiana law, if someone is killed during the commission of certain felonies, the person committing the felony — in this case robbery — can be held criminally responsible for murder.

Gross is set to be scheduled March 14. He pleaded guilty Monday without specified terms, meaning Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker can impose any sentence permitted by law.

The sentence for murder ranges from 45 to 65 years in prison, so Gross faces a maximum sentence of 130 years on both counts.

Crash reports

• A crash between a school bus and a car in Dunlap Monday afternoon resulted in only a minor injury.

The crash occurred at 3:30 p.m. on U.S. 33 near C.R. 13. Elkhart County police said Jerry Denny, 45, Goshen, was driving southeast in a 2009 Lincoln four-door. A Concord Community Schools bus driven by Sharon Shinn, 55, Bristol, was stopped in traffic.

Police said Denny made an unsafe lane movement, and the Lincoln’s front end struck the rear passenger side of the bus. The car then spun around and its rear passenger side corner struck the passenger side of the bus.

A child on the school bus, Aidan S. Argenti, 11, Elkhart, suffered wrist pain as a result of the crash. Denny was cited for a traffic infraction.

• A three-vehicle, chain-reaction crash left a driver injured Monday morning.

The collision occurred shortly after 8 a.m. at the intersection of C.R. 31 and U.S. 33. Elkhart County police said a 1988 Buick Camry driven by Joshua Dreier, 17, Goshen, collided with the rear of a 2000 Dodge Durango driven by Pamela Yoder, 42, Middlebury. The Durango then collided with the rear of a 2003 Chevrolet Venture driven by Sarah Miller, 39, Goshen.

Yoder suffered head and neck pain as a result of the crash. She was transported to IU Health Goshen Hospital by Benton Township medics.

A witness told police all three vehicle were traveling at a slow speed, and that the Buick Century began to slide on ice. Police issued a warning to Dreier for following too closely.

• Elkhart County police said a motorist was hurt in a one-vehicle crash Monday morning on U.S. 6 east of C.R. 37.

The mishap occurred around 7 a.m. Police said Christopher North, 38, Milford, was driving east in a 2006 Pontiac G6 and attempted to pass another vehicle. Police said North lost control of the vehicle when he drove over an icy patch on the road and over-corrected. The automobile went off the north side of U.S. 6 and into a field.

North suffered lower back pain and a headache as a result of the crash. He was transported to IU Health Goshen Hospital for treatment.

• A driver was injured when a truck crashed into the front of Dollar General, 2010 Lincolnway East, Goshen, Friday night.

The mishap occurred around 9:44 p.m., Goshen police reported. Michael Chupp, 19, Goshen, was driving 2008 Ford F250 truck in the Dollar General parking lot. Chupp told police his foot got stuck between the brake and accelerator pedal. The truck accelerated and struck the building.

Chupp suffered a laceration to his nose. Police said damage to the storefront was extensive.

Police raid party

Elkhart County police raided an underage drinking party shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday at 12061 C.R. 36 east of Goshen.

Police said several adults younger than 21 were cited and released on charges of illegal consumption of alcoholic beverages. They were Sarah D. Borntrager, 18, Goshen; Harlan J. Borkholder, 19, Millersburg; Jessy E. Bontrager, 19, Topeka; Jesse A. Mast, 19, Shipshewana; Pauline Lehman, 18, Topeka; Carol A. Bontrager, 18, Goshen; and Lynn Jay Yoder, 19, Topeka.

Additionally, eight young people — three boys and five girls — ages 16 and 17 were released to their parents. Those teens were from Goshen, Middlebury, Topeka, Shipshewana, Ligonier and Millersburg.

Man arrestedon rape charge

Goshen police arrested Eric Zacarias, 23, 502 Ryegrass Court, Goshen, on charges of rape and domestic battery Sunday. Police reported that the alleged offenses occurred at Zacarias’ home. Zacarias was incarcerted in the Elkhart County jail.

Theft/burglary reports

• Kirsten Kanaebel of Henryville told Goshen police Sunday that someone in Goshen used her credit card information and tried to make online purchases.

• Albert Hershberger, 125 N. 22nd St., told Goshen police someone stole his wife’s wedding band between noon Dec. 4 and the evening of Dec. 5.

• An employee at the Kroger gas station, 612 W. Pike St., told Goshen police that someone pumped $29.95 worth of gasoline around 2 p.m. Sunday and left without paying.

• Goshen police arrested Joseph Rose, 21, and Dedra Snyder, 22, both of 552 Brookside Manor, Goshen, Sunday night at Meijer, 4522 Elkhart Road, on charges of criminal conversion. They were released on memorandums to appear in Goshen City Court.

• Staff at Quality Cable Vision reported the theft of cable services in New Paris to Elkhart County police Friday.

• Alicia Lovely of Goshen told Elkhart County police Saturday that someone used her debit card without her permission to make $150 in purchases.

• Vijay Mehta of Bristol told Elkhart County police that between Sept. 15 and Oct. 20, he sent three payments totaling $1,640 via Western Union to an address in California. Mehta was paying for services from someone claiming to be from Dish Network. Dish Network did not receive those payments, Mehta told police.

Assault/battery reports

• Sinuhe Hernandez-Burciaga, 26, 430 N. Woodsage St., Bristol, was taken into custody at his home by Elkhart County police around 7:45 p.m. Saturday on a charge of domestic battery and also on an arrest warrant. He was incarcerated in the Elkhart County jail.

Vandalism/criminal mischief reports

• Thomas Friday of Goshen told Goshen police his vehicle was vandalized with what appeared to be feces sometime early Sunday. The vehicle was parked at 305 S. Seventh St. when the vandalism occurred.

• Mervin Slabach told Goshen police Sunday that someone damaged a window at his rental property at 320 E. Madison St.

• Angie Fry of Goshen told Goshen police Sunday that someone slashed one of the tires on a rental car she was using. The vehicle was parked at 402 S. Seventh St. at the time of the vandalism.

• Brett Haines of Goshen told Goshen police Sunday that his vehicle was damaged while it was parked at Meijer, 4522 Elkhart Road.

• Matthew Wayker told Elkhart County police someone broke out the back window of his Dodge Durango while the vehicle was parked at Bashor Children’s Home, 62226 C.R. 15, Goshen. The vandalism occurred between 1 and 10:15 p.m. Saturday.

OWI arrests

The following motorists were recently arrested on charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated:

• Scott J. Stillson, 54, 65926 C.R. 27, Goshen, was arrested by Goshen police after a traffic stop around 11:40 p.m. at Main and Jackson streets. He was incarcerated in the Elkhart County jail.

• Nicole L. Reed, 21, 409 Lincolnway East, Ligonier, was arrested by Elkhart city police Dec. 4 after a traffic stop on Waterfall Drive.

Traffic arrests

• Anibal Lugo, 50, 19142 Oak Park, New Paris, was arrested by Elkhart County police around 2:44 p.m. Saturday on C.R. 40 west of Ind. 119 on a charge of driving while never receiving a driver’s license.