Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 15, 2013

Suspect in teen's murder arraigned

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

---- — GOSHEN — An Elkhart man accused of murdering Tiana Alter, 17, in a Granger home Nov. 2 was arraigned on a charge of murder Thursday.

Michael Shoun, 26, Elkhart, is accused of killing Alter in a Cleveland Township home. Elkhart County Coroner John White has ruled Alter died of multiple sharp force injuries. Elkhart County police arrested Shoun at the scene on several warrants and he was officially charged Wednesday.

Elkhart Circuit Court Terry Shewmaker entered a not guilty plea for Shoun and set his trial for March 3. There is no bond for murder suspects in Indiana.

Admission of murder

In another Elkhart murder case in Circuit Court, Jesus Macedo, 17, entered a plea agreement in which he admitted to fatally shooting Braxton Barhams, 16, on June 22.

Macedo told Judge Shewmaker that he was in a car at the intersection of Benham and Garfield avenues and had a gun and shot at “B.B.” with the intent of killing him.

The plea deal calls for a 65-year term in prison for Macedo. In return for his admission, prosecutors are dropping a criminal gang enhancement provision for his sentence. Sentencing was set for Dec. 12.

Goshen robbery suspects

Five Elkhart men arrested in a Goshen home invasion and robbery all had their bonds set at $250,000 and their trials set for March 3.

Matthew R. Allen, 19, 10 Malcom Drive, Apt.,C; Davon N. Crenshaw, 19, 719 E. Lusher Ave.; Armando Gonzalez Jr., 18, 121 W. Indiana Ave.; Antoine A. McDuffie, 21, 26275 Leland Road; and Montrail D. Williams, 20, 1606 Frances Ave.; all face felony charges of armed robbery, burglary, criminal confinement and conspiracy to commit burglary. In addition, Gonzalez and Williams were charged with possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

According to a Goshen police report, the Elkhart men went to a home on April Lane in the Twin Pines Mobile Home Park early on the morning of Nov. 4 and displayed a handgun during the robbery. The victims were not injured.

Amish robbery

Despite a confession to the victims and his family that he and his brother Devon had invaded the home of an Amish couple and robbed them at the point of a gun in 2008, Jesse Miller did not turn himself in to police. But after waiting some time after those confessions, a relative did.

On Thursday Miller, 25, received a 16-year prison sentence, with four of those years suspended. Miller had entered a guilty plea as part of a plea agreement earlier.

Miller’s brother Devon was killed in an accident in 2011 after the brothers made their confessions.

Before sentencing Miller, Shewmaker ran through a list of his previous crimes, which include five felony convictions and nine misdemeanor convictions, four failures to appear in court and nine probation violations.

“All show your failures,” Shemaker told Miller.

Asked by Shewmaker before he pronounced sentence what he thought should be considered in his favor, Miller said, “I had a job when I was arrested... I felt I was on my way up.”

He also told Shewmaker he was, “Sorry for what I have done.”

Defendant sentenced

Kayla J. Losee, 19, Nappanee, received a new handbag, some sandals and a few other trinkets from her friends last spring. On Thursday, she also received something else, a six-year prison term for taking part in an armed robbery with those friends.

Losee was sentenced for her role in a holdup at the Neighborhood Convenience Store, 1712 Oakland Ave., on June 15 in Elkhart.

Police said other participants were Joshua L. Bagwell, Justin M. Kearney and Andrew M. Ormanovich. They are now all serving prison sentences for the robbery.

“They bought me a purse and some sandals and some other things,” Losee told the court in what she received from the proceeds of the robbery.

Her case was scheduled to go to trial Monday.

In handing out her sentence, Shewmaker said he added time because Losee was on probation for a felony charge of receiving stolen property when she took part in the robbery.

During the robbery, the store owner was assaulted and injured and money was stolen.

Cocaine sentence

James D. Rice, 32, Elkhart, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for four counts of dealing cocaine. Three years of the sentence will be suspended and a $7,000 fine was suspended. He must also perform 250 hours of community service.

Edward Wing, 40, Elkhart, was sentenced to 38 years in prison with two years suspended on armed robbery and forgery counts.

Wing is serving time in Michigan for robbing the Hilltop Laundry in Union and a bank in Cadillac last year.

He was charged with robbing branches of Mutual and Chase banks in Elkhart County and five counts of forgery for stealing checks from his parents and attempting to cash them at a Key bank.

Judge Shewmaker said the Indiana sentences will be served after Wing serves his time in Michigan.

Test tampering

During a plea agreement hearing, Brandon Robinson admitted he tried to get around a routine drug screening while he was on probation. He wasn’t successful.

On Thursday Robinson admitted he had smoked marijuana and then used a device to attempt to alter a urine test.

In response, Shemaker sentenced Robinson to finish his sentence for a 2003 robbery charge, sending him back to prison to fulfill his 10-year prison sentence with eight years suspended.

Robinson was originally sentenced to prison for attacking a woman outside a drugstore and breaking her leg while stealing her purse. He still owes the woman almost $13,000 in restitution.