Porter County Courts
December 10, 2012 5:56PM
Updated: December 10, 2012 10:38PM
No sentence reduction in chase case
Porter County Senior Judge Raymond Kickbush on Monday denied a significant reduction in the $150,000 bail bond for one of the three men who broke into a Porter County home and forced the owner to hand over valuables before going on a high-speed chase through Porter and Lake counties.
Given that Michael Anthony Sprague, 25, has a previous felony conviction that requires a minimum mandatory sentence and that he’s looking at 20 to 50 years each on Class A felony aiding in a burglary and Class A aiding in a robbery, “I don’t think $10,000 on bond is anything near adequate,” Kickbush said.
Attorney John Vouga asked that bond be reduced to something Sprague could afford so Sprague can go back to work and college classes, and Kickbush said he understood that Sprague could afford the more reasonable amount of $125,000.
On Aug. 8, Jordan A. Wilkerson, 23, of Chicago; Dominick Fazzini, 23, or Peotone, Ill.; and Shawn Patrick Michael Duffy, 24, of Crown Point broke into the home after Fazzini received a call about doing a “job” in Porter County.
Duffy committed suicide after the chase ended on U.S. 30 and Colorado Street in Merrillville. The other three are next in court Jan. 7 and set for trial Feb. 4.
Man admits breaking into home
A Portage man is looking at a prison sentence of up to four years for his plea in Porter County Superior Court to Class B felony burglary on Monday.
John David Kenneth Tyler, 26, admitted in court that in May 2011, he broke into the home of a Portage man he mowed grass and did odd jobs for while the man was on vacation.
Tyler took a 48-inch television, a DVD/VCR player, jewelry and a computer system after he broke in through a window.
Police found his fingerprints there and matched them to a juvenile case involving Tyler.
When he’s sentenced Jan. 7, there’s a four-year cap on prison sentencing for the up to 20 year sentence he could receive.
Third felony could earn five years
Being convicted of a felony a third time will probably get a 21-year-old Portage man five years in prison, based on a Monday plea.
Richard G. Shafer pleaded guilty in Porter County Superior Court to Class D felony attempted theft for the June 30 incident when he went into a neighbor’s vehicle to sleep after being kicked out by his wife and going out to get drunk, then rummaging through the vehicle for items before trying to sleep.
Police tested Shafer’s blood alcohol level as .12 on a portable breathalyzer, and he had a third of a bottle of vodka on him.
If Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford accepts Shafer’s plea at the Jan. 28 sentencing, he’ll be sentenced to five years for the new crime and one for violating probation for Class D felony domestic violence.
He also has a Class B felony burglary conviction.
The prosecution will drop another Class D felony attempted theft charge and four misdemeanors under the plea agreement.
Business suing Centier over lien
A Valparaiso business is suing Centier Bank and Chicago Power of Griffith for what the business owner claims was theft of valve work equipment.
Gnome Industries claims in the suit filed Dec. 6 in Porter County that after buying a valve business from Virgil Clary, Clary wanted the tools back and changed locks on the business Gnome now owned, but LaPorte Superior Court ruled Gnome owned the tools in a temporary injunction.
Clary never disclosed a lien Centier had on the tools and equipment before the sale, and on June 4 Centier asserted its lien in court and offered to sell the tools to Chicago Power.
Clary allegedly delivered the tools to Chicago Power while the matter was still in court and while Gnome tried to buy the tools itself, paying for them twice because they were so important to business.
Gnome states it lost business due to lack of access to the equipment and is suing for costs, damages, attorney fees and expenses, including travel.
A Centier representative declined to comment on the case citing client confidentiality, and the attorney for Gnome and Gnome officials couldn’t be reached.