17-year-old sentenced to six years in adult prison facility for park shooting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 23:12


Seventeen-year-old Detai Howard of Austin will spend at least four of the six years to which he was sentenced on Monday, September 25, in an adult prison facility.

Scott Circuit Court Judge Jason Mount listened to four hours of testimony during Howard’s sentencing hearing before deciding to send the slenderly-built teenager to an adult facility on a charge of aggravated battery causing permanent disfigurement or protracted loss of or impairment of function.

As he returned to the bench after a 25- minute break during which he made the decision, Judge Mount told the young man and his family it had been a difficult decision to make.

Detai Howard was videoed by cell phone shooting a man he knew from New Albany in the leg on the east side of Beechwood Park on May 31. A by-stander had heard the two arguing loudly about a gun Howard had allegedly stolen from the man, identified as Jonathon Borton, and began videoing the confrontation. Howard had pulled the handgun from his backpack, aiming at Borton. After Borton was shot, Howard fired at a car, hitting it once. He then ran from the scene, discarding the still-loaded gun in a ditch.

After surrendering to police, Howard told officers where they could find the weapon, and it was safely recovered.

Part of the evidence presented in the case by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Raleigh Campbell Jr. involved a screening of the video and testimony from Lt./Detective Steven Herald of the Scottsburg Police Department and Austin High School principal Ryan Herald.

Lt. Herald said Borton is recovering from his wound. He had been transported by ambulance to University of Louisville Hospital for treatment after the shooting.

Howard was taken to the Jackson County Youth Detention Center in Brownstown soon after the shooting. Charges of Level 3 felony aggravated battery and Level 5 battery and criminal recklessness were filed against him on August 3. He entered into a plea agreement on the Level 3 charge five days later. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered with the date of sentencing set on September 25.

Howard had appeared alert and fairly optimistic during the testimony phase of the sentencing. He sometimes appeared to be checking facts with his attorney, public defender Josh Stigdon, especially during the testimony of a young woman who stated she saw the shooting and helped get Borton to safety. However, after hearing he was headed to an adult prison, Howard’s head went down and he rarely looked up.

“The State wanted (you to get) nine years in prison. I am giving you six,” Judge Mount told the young man. The issue over whether to send the young man, now nearly 18 years old, to a prison for adult offenders or keep him in a youth facility apparently caused Judge Mount some anguish. He said as he looked over the facts of the case, however, he determined that Howard needed to be in an adult prison.

“You shot a person in a park where there were other people, including children, nearby. If the bullet had entered just a little bit more to one side (of Borton’s leg), we could have been looking at a murder charge instead of aggravated battery. You continued to shoot the weapon after you had wounded Mr. Borton, again in a place where there were innocent people. You threw the loaded gun in a ditch where anyone could have found it. Things you did right were surrendering to police and telling them where the gun was,” the judge said.

Behavioral problems Howard had experienced while in school in Austin and later at the Brownstown youth center were noted as well. The judge also seemed moved by a two-page written statement Howard made, acknowledging his responsibility in the shooting incident and his hopes to get a college degree in business.

Judge Mount said Howard will have more opportunities available to him at the adult prison. “This is what I want you to do: I want you to prove to me that you can behave, and that you are serious about completing your education. I will allow you to participate in several programs, get your GED (general education degree), get substance abuse therapy and anger therapy. I want you to, at the end of four years, show me that you are ready and able to be a responsible adult,” Judge Mount advised.

If Howard completes four years in prison satisfactorily and takes advantage of the programs offered to him, the judge said he would grant Howard’s petition for a sentence modification hearing. “Then we’ll talk about a possible sentence modification,” he said. Howard was given 156 days of credit for time already served.

Howard has the opportunity to appeal his sentence, and Judge Mount directed Stigdon to advise his client about filing that appeal.




Women charged with meth dealing among several individuals arrested on drug offenses PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 23:06




Two Scottsburg women are among recent drug-related arrests made by local officers.

Mystin M. Williams, 35, and Samantha L. Williams, 36, are incarcerated at the Scott County Security Center after an early morning incident at Huck’s in Austin on Monday, September 25.

Deputies Joe Baker and Rex Herald set up an undercover drug deal with a confidential informant late on Sunday night, September 24. That person contacted the women and then told the officers that the pair would be at the gas station in a Mustang to make the sale.

The deputies apprehended the Williamses in the car sometime after 2 a.m. Approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine (meth) were in the women’s possession, according to Deputy Baker’s probable cause affidavit. Also found was some drug-related paraphernalia.

Each suspect was booked into the Security Center that same morning.

Both face charges of Level 2 felony dealing in meth and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. Mystin Williams owned the car the pair was using, so she faces a Level 6 felony charge of maintaining a common nuisance. Samantha Williams has a misdemeanor charge of visiting a common nuisance.

The women had initial hearings in Scott Circuit Court on Thursday, September 28. Not guilty pleas were entered, and an initial January 8 jury trial date was scheduled for each. Bail was set at $100,000 by corporate surety bond or $10,000 cash for each.

The defendants are scheduled to return to Circuit Court on Thursday, October 5, regarding their need for public defenders.

Others charged in recent drug arrests are:

? Jessica Nicole Barrett, 30, Underwood; charged with Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance and misdemeanors of possession of a synthetic drug or look-alike, operating motor vehicle when never received a license and possession of drug paraphernalia. Arresting officer was Scottsburg Patrolman Greg Green; assisting him were Sgt. Rodney Watts and Patrolman Justin Cheatham. The arrest was made on September 16 on U.S. Highway 31 after Ptl. Green said he saw Barrett make several driving errors. A one-year-old child in the car was turned over to a staff member of Scott County Department of Child Services.

? Jonathan Beech Terry, 33, Scottsburg; charged with Level 6 felony possession of meth and Level 6 felony possession of a legend (prescription) drug. Arresting officer was Scottsburg Lt./Detective Mike Nichols on September 14. Det. Nichols located Terry in a mobile home park after learning Terry was wanted on two arrest warrants. Terry was allegedly found with several syringes and the drug.

? James Robert Hall, 38, Underwood; charged with Level 6 felonies of possession of meth, unlawful possession of a syringe and escape, and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. Arresting officer was Deputy Josh Watterson at 1 a.m. on September 19; Deputy Baker assisted him. Hall had been involved in a single vehicle accident at State Road 56 East and Shea Road. Deputy Watterson noticed a home monitoring bracelet on his ankle and learned that Hall did not have permission to be away from his residence at that time of day. Liquified meth was allegedly found in a syringe in his possession. The deputy said he also located crystal meth and Suboxone strips.

? Ernest V. McKeand, 21, Madison; charged with Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe and misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Arresting officer was Austin Sgt. Scott McCoskey on September 19 in downtown Austin; Deputy James Shelton assisted him. McKeand allegedly fled on foot from Sgt. McCoskey before surrendering. The syringe was reportedly located by jailers between McKeand’s buttocks at the Security Center during the booking process.

? Christopher Scott Gay, 33, Austin; charged with Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe and misdemeanors of possession of a controlled substance, visiting a common nuisance and operating a motor vehicle whenever received a license. Arresting officer was Deputy Watterson on September 20 near Coffee Pot Road. Gay allegedly had Suboxone in his possession when he was stopped by the officer.

? Kayla Suzann Barger, 21, Crothersville; charged with Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance. Arresting officer was Deputy Watterson on September 20. Barger was with Gay and owned the 2006 Dodge Caravan stopped by the deputy. The vehicle was impounded.

? Dustin R. Hines, 34, Austin; charged with Level 6 felony unlawful possession of syringe and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Arresting officer was Indiana State Police Trooper Zachary Smith who came across Hines on September 21 near Water Tower and Booe Roads near Austin.

? Jerrica N. Cooksey, 27, Scottsburg; charged with Level 6 unlawful possession of syringe, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of heroin and two misdemeanors of possession of a controlled substance. Arresting officer was Detective Paul Clute of the Sheriff’s Department on September 22. Cooksey was arrested at the home of Barry Kiefer. A 15-day hold without bond was placed on her because of prior convictions.

? Barry R. Kiefer, 55, Scottsburg; charged with the same charges as Cooksey as well as misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Det. Clute and Probation Officer Scott Pool found Kiefer with Cooksey in the mobile home on September 22. He allegedly told the officer that he was trying to help Cooksey get off drugs.

? Shelbie N. Fields, 21, Austin; charged with Level 6 felonies of unlawful possession of syringe and possession of meth and misdemeanor theft. Arresting officer was Austin Police Chief Robert Gudgel on September 23. He took Fields into custody after she was allegedly caught stealing makeup at the Dollar General Store. A 15-day hold without bail was placed on Fields by authorities.

? Martha Hathcoat, 49, Scottsburg; charged with Level 6 felony possession of meth and misdemeanors of possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia. Deputy Josh Watterson stopped Hathcoat as she was allegedly speeding on U.S. 31 in Scottsburg on September 29. Hathcoat reportedly had a suspended driver license and no proof of insurance for the vehicle. Given permission to search the vehicle, the officer said he found pills and drug paraphernalia as well as a straw coated with meth residue.

? Jarrod D. Scifers, 30, Scottsburg, was arrested on September 29 after Deputy Joe Johnson allegedly saw a syringe where Scifers had been seated in a car. Scifers reportedly admitted the syringe was his. Unlawful possession of a syringe is a Level 6 felony.

All defendants have had initial hearings in Circuit Court, with jury trial dates assigned and bail set. Barry Kiefer filed a cash bond of $2,500 and was released to await his trial. Both Hathcoat and Scifers were released on home detention and are subject to weekly drug tests.




Best laid plans definitely go awry for foursome now charged with theft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 09:03

As Scots poet Robert Burns is often quoted as saying, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry,” or words to that effect.

94 citations issued, 13 arrests made during recent ‘Drive Sober’ blitz PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 09:01

A total of 13 arrests were made and 94 citations issued to drivers and/or their passengers during the recent “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” blitz conducted in Scott County by Scottsburg police and the Sheriff’s Department. Federal highway safety funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute supported overtime patrols for the local departments and for about 220 law enforcement agencies across the state.

21-year jail sentence handed to man involved in multiple offenses PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 09:00

He pleaded guilty to burglary, battery and criminal confinement, all serious felonies, so the sentence of 21 years given to Brandon Lesnet, 32, should not have come as a surprise to the man seated with other inmates in the Scott Circuit courtroom on Tuesday morning, October 3.

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