By ROGER SCHNEIDER email@example.com
---- — GOSHEN — A teenager admitted to killing a dog by throwing a firecracker at it last summer and will have his sentence for that charge tacked on the end of an armed robbery sentence.
Marquis Armone Gary, who was 16 at the time of the July 5 animal cruelty incident, pleaded guilty in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday to animal cruelty as a Class D felony and also pleaded guilty to a Class B armed robbery charge.
Gary’s plea agreements call for him to be sentenced to 14 years in prison with four years suspended on the armed robbery charge. The sentence for the animal cruelty charge is being left up to Judge Terry Shewmaker. Under Indiana law the judge can make the sentence for a Class D felony from six months to three years and include up to $10,000 in fines.
The armed robbery charge stems from a June 3 holdup of a man. Gary admitted to taking the man’s wallet when the man was threatened with a gun by three youths, including himself.
County Prosecutor Curtis Hill Jr. said earlier this year he sought to waive Gary from juvenile court to adult court for the safety of the community.
The dog was a female pit bull that attempted to pick up the firecracker and suffered severe facial trauma when it exploded. The incident drew widespread attention from the media and Gary was arrested July 8.
Nappanee mother sentenced
In another sentencing, a Nappanee mother of a toddler was sent to prison for her role as driver in an armed robbery of an Elkhart market that left the owner injured.
Kayla Losee, 19, joined three men June 15 in robbing the Neighborhood Convenience Store, 1712 Oakland Ave. Two of the men entered the store and stole cash after beating the owner with a golf club he had grabbed in an attempt to scare the robbers away. The other three defendants have been sentenced.
Judge Shewmaker sentenced Losee to six years in prison with four years suspended. She must also serve four years on probation.
Before her sentencing, Losee told Shewmaker that her use of synthetic marijuana, including K2, contributed to her bad behavior. She broke into tears while telling Shewmaker that her daughter will not have her father or her mother around to take care of her when she goes to prison.
“I have been in trouble since I was 16,” Losee said. “I guess K2 was kind of a role in it. The K2 was the reason the robbery occurred.”
She told Shewmaker she feels badly every day about her role in the robbery.
“You are going to have to quit smoking K2 and everything else or they are going to take your child away from you and put it somewhere else,” Shewmaker told Losee about the path she has chosen.
The judge ordered addiction treatment for Losee while she is incarcerated.
• Michael Fields, 33, appeared on charges of armed robbery and burglary while armed. His bond was set at $100,000 and Judge Shewmaker entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
• Samuel J. Cataldo, was sentenced on a charge of possession of methamphetamine, a Class D felony. He was sentenced to three years in prison with those three years suspended. He will serve three years on probation and pay $3,200 in costs and perform 50 hours of community service.
• Plea agreements from three armed robbery suspects were accepted.
Kevin Gary, Tommy Gary and Deunta E. Lee, all of Elkhart, are charged with robbing Bower Quick Stop, 704 Bower St., on April 21.
They will receive a maximum of 15 years in prison.
• Gerardo Negrete-Gonzalez appeared on two Class A felony charges of dealing in cocaine. He told Shewmaker he planned on hiring his own attorney.
Shewmaker entered a not guilty plea on Negrete-Gonzalez’s behalf and continued the $250,000 bond.
• Adam J. Shetter pleaded guilty to dealing in methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison with four years suspended and four years on probation.