Goshen News, Goshen, IN

October 25, 2013

Man gets 30 years in fatal shooting

By ROGER SCHNEIDER roger.schneider@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — An argument that ended with Terry L. Sheets Jr., 26, fatally shooting Matthew Bark, 24, in Elkhart, will result in a 30-year prison sentence for Sheets.

Sheets entered a plea agreement in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday to charges of voluntary manslaughter and criminal recklessness. As part of that agreement Sheets admitted to using a handgun to shoot and kill Bark during the argument April 20 at Deer Creeke Apartments on Toledo Road.

The agreement on the manslaughter charge calls for Sheets to be sentenced to the 30-year prison term with 10 years of it being suspended. He must also make restitution to Bark’s family.

The criminal recklessness charge for discharging the handgun in an apartment building, will result in an 18-month sentence that will run concurrently with the manslaughter sentence.

The shooting occurred April 20.

Judge Terry Shewmaker set Sheets’ sentencing for Dec. 12.

Murder suspects

One of two murder suspects in a double homicide at an Elkhart grocery has waived his right to a speedy trial.

Richard Gross, 22, of Memphis, Tenn., had earlier asked for a speedy trial in the deaths of Jagtar Bhatti, 55 and Pawan Singh, 20, Sept. 5 at Saleh’s Market. Both men worked at the store.

Shewmaker reset the trial date for Gross for Dec. 9.

Kevin L. Moore, 28, Elkhart is a co-defendant in the case. Moore also appeared in court for a bond reduction hearing. He asked the court to withdraw that request.

Murder conspiracy

Jose Pena, 43, Elkhart, entered a plea agreement admitting he conspired to murder a man and to promoting prostitution.

The agreement admits Pena provided a gun to Devarious Cantrell, 22, Elkhart, to shoot Bobby Berry on Nov. 2, 2012. The conspiracy to commit murder charge is a Class A felony. Pena also admitted he received money from a prostitute, which is a Class D felony charge.

Shewmaker told Pena the conspiracy charge carries up to a 50-year sentence and a $10,000 fine and the Class C felony has a penalty of up to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Sentencing was set for Nov. 21.

Pena’s co-defendant, Cantrell, was sentenced Sept. 26 to 35 years in prison for shooting Berry in the legs with a rifle in the 200 block of Indiana Avenue in Elkhart.

Student charged with armed robbery

An Elkhart Central High School student charged with armed robbery asked for a bond reduction, which was denied by Shewmaker.

Javelle D. Osby, 18, was arrested Sept. 8 on a charge of armed robbery resulting in bodily injury, a Class B felony. Osby was allegedly with another man when they attempted to rob two men at gunpoint. While not saying his client was involved, Osby’s attorney Jeffrey Majerek, said a BB gun was used in the incident.

Majerek said a juvenile case against his client is pending in juvenile court and a disposition in that case is expected soon. Osby was arrested in May on other charges, which are disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement. Majerek said those charges stem from the annual junior-senior food fight at the end of the school year at Elkhart Central.

Osby said he wanted his bond reduced to $40,000 so his family could afford the $4,000 10 percent cash required to be posted.

Majerek said his client wants to finish high school, having only 10 credit hours needed to get his diploma. He also said Osby would like to try out for the high school’s basketball team. Also, until his arrest Osby was working at a local bakery.

Shewmaker said the probation department did not recommend lowering the bond from the current $70,000. He said Osby also admitted to using marijuana frequently.

“If you want to be an athlete, I guess they wouldn’t want you to be using marijuana, Shewmaker said, adding, “I think we will leave it (the bond) right where it is.”

Robbery suspects appear

Two of four suspects in the robbery of an Elkhart store entered guilty pleas Thursday.

Joshua L. Bagwell, 20, Nappanee, admitted to a Class B felony charge of robbery resulting in bodily injury. The robbery occurred at a store on Oakland Avenue in Elkhart in June. The owner of the store was beaten and $2,000 was stolen.

Bagwell’s plea agreement calls for him to receive a 16-year sentence with six years of that suspended. He will also serve six years on probation and must make restitution, perform 50 hours of community service and undergo addictions treatment while in prison.

His co-defendant, Andrew M. Ormanovich, 21, Nappanee, also pleaded guilty to robbery resulting in bodily injury. His plea agreement calls for him to serve 14 years in prison with six years suspended.

Kayla Losee, 19, Nappanee and Justin Kearney, 25, New Paris, are also charged in the case.

In another armed robbery case, Shawn Marks, 27, Elkhart, entered a guilty plea to armed robbery. He admitted to robbing the Chiphone Credit Union on Beardsley Avenue in Elkhart in January.

His plea agreement calls for a 12-year prison term with four years of that term suspended.

A co-defendant in the case is Christopher Coleman.

Meth plea agreements

Gerald Sawicki, 53, Ligonier, entered a plea agreement to a charge of attempting to deal in methamphetamine on March 26, a Class B felony.

Sawicki’s deal calls for a 12-year prison sentence with six years of that sentence suspended. Sentencing will occur later.

Also, Steven Garrett, 36, of Goshen, entered a guilty plea as part of a plea agreement in Elkhart Superior Court III, to a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a public park. Shewmaker accepted the plea on behalf of Judge George Biddlecome, who was not working Thursday.

The Class A felony charge carries up to a 30-year prison term. The case will be returned to Superior Court III for sentencing.

Paul A. Hunter, 26, a homeless Elkhart man, entered a guilty plea to manufacturing methamphetamine, which also would be a violation of his probation. The charge is a Class D felony.

His attorney, Peter Todd, told Shewmaker that Hunter has a severe addiction to alcohol and methamphetamine and asked for suspension of a portion of whatever sentence the judge handed out. Todd suggested the prison sentence be 15 years with a transition to a lesser level of incarceration.

Assistant Prosecutor Donald Pitzer asked for a 16-year sentence with four years suspended. He said Hunter had a meth lab in his car, which was very dangerous because the lab could have exploded. He said Hunter also has a history of probation violations and substance abuse and has had an escape charge, “Which shows his disdain for authority...”

Shemaker sentenced Hunter to 10 years in prison and added six more years for his past record. Four years of the term will be suspended and Hunter must pay a $7,000 fine. Shemaker also ordered addictions treatment for Hunter while he is incarcerated.

In addition, Shewmaker reimposed a two-year sentence for a previous conviction, and that term must be served consecutively, either before or after Hunter’s most recent sentence.

In other court action:

• Shewmaker issued a warrant for Autiana Letaha Jackson after she failed to appear for a hearing on a probation violation charge. She was later arrested and brought into the courtroom, where the judge ordered her into the custody of the sheriff until a hearing could be held.

• Brian R. George, 30, Elkhart, appeared for an initial hearing on three drug charges, dealing in cocaine, a Class A felony, dealing in cocaine, Class B felony and possession of a controlled substance, a Class B felony.

Judge Shewmaker entered not guilty pleas on George’s behalf and set bond at $200,000.

• Shewmaker set a $50,000 bond for Tabatha Renee Woods, 36, Bedford, Ind., on a charge of probation violation. She is accused of not completing her community service, not paying fees and not reporting her change of address.

• Lavar C. Moore, Elkhart, appeared on two charges of violating his probation. Moore was convicted in Cook County, Ill. on a charge of aggravated sexual assault and was supposed to notify his probation officer of his address and refrain from using drugs.

Moore admitted in court that he gave a Mishawaka address to his probation officer while he was living with his father on Middlebury Street in Elkhart. He also tested positive for cocaine use.

Shewmaker asked that the county corrections department do an assessment of Moore’s cases.

• Erick Franklin, 26, Elkhart, entered a plea of guilty to theft, a Class D felony. His plea agreement calls for a 24-month sentence with 18 months suspended.

• Jereme Coleman, 31, Elkhart, entered a guilty plea to dealing in cocaine, a Class A felony.

The plea agreement calls for Coleman to serve 35 years in prison with five years suspended and five years on probation.

The offense occurred at Carriage House Apartments on March 4.