New release dates set for two of 'Elkhart Four'


Updated information released Friday states that two members of the “Elkhart Four” are scheduled to be released from prison yet this year.

According to the Indiana Department of Correction offender data website, the release dates for Levi Sparks and Blake Layman were updated Friday. Sparks is now slated to be released April 7, a change from April 8, 2017 that appeared on the website Wednesday afternoon.

Blake Layman will be released Oct. 2, a change from Wednesday when his release date was Oct. 3, 2017, according to the website.

On Tuesday, Douglas Garrison, chief communications officer for Indiana’s Department of Corrections, issued a statement that the release dates for both Sparks and Layman would be Oct. 8, 2017 and that the release date for Anthony Sharp would be May 13, 2018.

Earlier this month the three were sentenced in Elkhart County Circuit Court for felony burglary after having their previous sentences for murder overturned last year by the Indiana Supreme Court. They were originally charged and convicted in the death of their friend during a botched burglary in Elkhart in 2012.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to vacate the murder conviction, Sharp and Layman were both sentenced to 10 years in prison and Sparks to nine for burglary.

Jackie Rolston trial to be rescheduled

The jury trial for Jackie Rolston, New Paris, who has been charged with felony battery of a child causing death was set for Monday in Elkhart County Superior Court 3 before Judge Teresa Cataldo.

Nineteen-month-old Kirk Antonio Coleman died while Rolston was his babysitter on Oct. 29, 2014.

According to a release from the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office, the trial will be rescheduled for another date. A date for pre-trial status hearing to select a new trial date has not been scheduled yet, according to the release.

Inmate seriously injured in plunge at jail

An Elkhart County jail inmate was seriously injured Friday morning when he jumped over a railing from the top tier of cells and landed on the floor.

According to Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jim Bradberry, Billy Ray Shoemaker, 39, jumped at 9:06 a.m. The railing runs along a walkway in front of inmate cells on the upper floor.

Shoemaker was transported to Memorial Hospital South Bend for treatment of a skull fracture, broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Before he was transported he received immediate assistance from the jail staff, according to Bradberry. Shoemaker was listed as being in stable condition Friday afternoon.

Shoemaker was being held at the county jail on a charge of non-support of a child and has a $24,000 bond.

The incident remains under investigation, police said.

Crash injures three

Three people were injured in a two-vehicle collision at C.R. 38, east of C.R. 7 in Wakarusa at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to Elkhart County police.

Ted Conley, 51, Mishawaka, was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Prizma on C.R. 38 and veered off the road to avoid hitting a loose dog in the road. Conley’s vehicle became caught in the snow and the driver lost control after returning to the east lane. Conley’s vehicle collided with a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by Matthew Cordes, 39, Fort Wayne.

Conley complained of left shoulder pain and two passengers, Matthew Jones, 24, Mishawaka, and Bridget Jones, 19, Mishawaka, complained of beck and back pain. All three people were transported to Elkhart General Hospital for treatment. No citations were issue at the scene.


• The manager of the Comfort Inn, 2309 Lincolnway East, Goshen, reported a non-payment of a hotel bill at 10:57 a.m. Thursday, according to Goshen police.

• Cheryl Cripe, Goshen, told Goshen police Thursday there was fraudulent activity on her bank account that occurred sometime Sunday.

• Tony Hardesty, Cromwell, reported fraudulent purchases to his food stamp card at 4:51 p.m. Thursday, according to Goshen police.

• Noreena Orci, 441 Brookside Manor, Goshen, told Goshen police someone burglarized her residence during the overnight hours Friday.


• Maintenance staff from the Goshen Parks and Recreation Department reported that a bridge near Shanklin Park, 411 W. Plymouth Ave., Goshen, was vandalized by graffiti sometime Thursday, according to Goshen police.


• According to Elkhart County police, Ashley Sexton, 23, was driving a Dodge Caravan minivan when it collided with a GMC HHR on Ind. 15, south of C.R. 146 in New Paris. She reportedly left the scene. Sexton was later located at 3:53 a.m. Thursday and ticketed to appear in Magistrate Court on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash.

• Goshen police received a call from a Goshen resident who saw an abandoned vehicle that had struck a tree in the 2100 block of Rieth Boulevard at 11:43 p.m. Thursday. Police searched the area and located Jose Rodriguez-Mayorga, 22, 609 Colorado St., Goshen, who allegedly was involved in the crash and did not call police. Rodriguez-Mayorga was arrested and released with a pending court date.

• Gregory Adams, 24, 5995 S. Ind. 9, Wolcottville, was arrested by Wolcottville police on a charge of battery Thursday and transported to the LaGrange County jail.

• Nicolas Richter, 31, 6375 E. 100 North, LaGrange, was arrested by LaGrange County police on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia Thursday. He was booked into the county jail.

• Elkhart County police served a Goshen arrest warrant at 3021 S. Main St., Elkhart at 9:09 p.m. Wednesday to Sawyer McCreary, 18. McCreary was arrested on the warrant and also on charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released at the scene.

• Elkhart County police were dispatched to 151 Timberbrook Circle, Bristol, to a welfare check on Amanda Mehl, 34. During their investigation police reported they saw marijuana in plain view and obtained a consent to search the residence at 10:33 p.m. Thursday. Police allegedly located 48.1 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine in the residence. Mehl was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, possession methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was transported to the Elkhart County jail.

• Rodrigo Castillo, 20, 1604 Lane Ave., Elkhart, was arrested by Goshen police at Sally’s Beauty Salon, 4024 Elkhart Road, Goshen, on a charge of theft of hair products at 6:57 p.m. Thursday. He was released on the scene with a pending court date.

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you