Riley Choate faces sex charge in Kentucky
Post-Tribune Staff report October 21, 2011 5:10PM
Updated: January 23, 2012 4:13AM
A former Black Oak man charged with murder in his son’s death faces a high-level felony sex charge involving a girl in Kentucky.
Information that Riley Choate and the boy’s stepmother, Kimberly Kubina, had open cases in Kentucky this week prompted Lake Superior Court Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan to abruptly dismiss the petition to allow bail for the estranged couple, who are charged with murder, neglect, battery and obstruction of justice in the 2009 death of Christian Choate, 13.
Prosecutors seeking to avoid from having to disclose the victim’s address indicated in a court filing that Choate is charged with the equivalent in Indiana of criminal deviate conduct, a Class A felony punishable by a sentence range of 20 to 50 years. The filing argued that revealing the vicitm’s address would endanger her and potentially subject her to intimidation.
Choate, 39, of Hammond, and Kubina, 46, of Gary’s Black Oak section, have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are punishable by a sentence range of 45 to 65 years in prison. Choate, who has prior felony convictions, faces an habitual offender sentencing enhancement that could add up to 30 years if he’s convicted of murder. When Kubina was arrested in May, she had an open larceny case in Kentucky.
Authorities allege Choate and Kubina intentionally killed Christian, whose body was found May 4 buried under a storage shed in the mobile home park where they lived. Witnesses told police Choate and Kubina confined Christian Choate in a dog cage and subjected him to daily physical abuse, court records state. The boy died in spring 2009, but authorities didn’t know until they received a call May 1 and began investigating.
The murder case is set for trial starting May 14. Judge Diane Ross Boswell scheduled a status hearing for Nov. 29.
Sullivan heard testimony from four witnesses at the bail hearings held in September and this week. After Monday’s hearing, Sullivan ordered the bail request dismissed because of outstanding warrants in the pending Kentucky cases.