In The News

July 9, 2014
Wanted convicts caught fleeing in field
By Brent Brown      The Greensburg Daily News

Wed Jul 09, 2014, 02:50 AM EDT GREENSBURG – Quick thinking by an off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy resulted in the arrest of two local men long-wanted on felony charges Tuesday afternoon.Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen told the Daily News Deputy Rob Goodfellow was off-duty, traveling in his patrol car on CR SW 60 shortly after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday when he noticed two men walking on the side of the road, near CR 800 South.Dep. Goodfellow recognized one of the men as wanted and turned his patrol car around to confront them. Both men then fled into a nearby field with Goodfellow pursuing on foot.Goodfellow notified other deputies as well as Westport Town Marshal Joe Talkington of the situation, and they responded for assistance in locating the suspects.Sheriff Allen said James R. Howard, 61, wanted by authorities for failure to appear in court following a conviction for operating a motor vehicle after a lifetime suspension in 2006, gave himself up early in the pursuit. The second man, Roy M. White, 53, attempted to hide in the field, but turned himself over to police when Marshal Talkington unleashed his K-9, Keno, at the scene in order to search for the fleeing suspect.White was wanted for violating his probation following a guilty plea on a charge of counterfeiting in November 2011. At that time, White was sentenced to one year in prison with all but 60 days of the sentence suspended. White was subsequently placed on supervised probation and ordered to pay restitution, according to court documents. A petition to revoke White’s probation was issued in February 2013.That wasn’t the first brush with the law for White.White was convicted of criminal recklessness in Decatur County in 1993 and theft and receiving stolen property in Jennings County the same year, according to the Indiana Department of Correction.Howard also has a lengthy criminal history beginning with a burglary conviction in March 1983. Howard has a pair of convictions for operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension, the first of which was handed down in Decatur County in 1995. He was sentenced as a habitual violator of traffic laws in 1988, according to the Indiana Department of Correction. No one was injured in Tuesday’s pursuit and both suspects were booked into the Decatur County Jail that afternoon.The Sheriff said both men were charged with preliminary counts of resisting law enforcement Tuesday. No bond information was available for either suspect.Deputies Eric Kramer, Kevin Rohr and David Henderson joined Goodfellow, Lt. Eric Blodgett and Marshal Talkington in the brief pursuit, Allen said. The Sheriff later met up with officers at the scene as well.Sheriff Allen complimented the police work involved in Tuesday’s case, saving his highest remarks for Goodfellow.“I want to commend Deputy Goodfellow for being observant even though he was off duty,” Allen said.Conservation Officer Andy Hagerty also assisted at the scene.Though wanted by law enforcement officials for some time, Sheriff Allen said both men arrested Tuesday were believed by authorities to have moved out of state.Allen said police had caught wind of the suspects’ return to Decatur County, but it was Tuesday’s chance encounter that finally led to their arrests.

July 3, 2014
Men face burglary, theft charges
By Brent Brown
     The Greensburg Daily News

WESTPORT – Two Westport men suspected of stealing a utility terrain vehicle, cash and other items from a rural home late last month have been arrested and now face felony burglary and theft charges.A recent investigation by the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department and Westport Town Marshals led to the arrest of Devin Q. Winchester, 20, and Corey T. Bruner, 18, within the last week. Both men have been charged with burglary, a class B felony, and theft, a class D felony. Winchester faces an additional felony charge of possession of stolen property.Investigators believe Winchester, with the assistance of Bruner and a juvenile accomplice, entered a residence in the 1600 block of West SR 46 in Greensburg during the night of June 22, and stole a Honda Razor Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV). They then rode the vehicle throughout the town of Westport the following day, accompanied by two other juveniles and another friend, police said.Bruner is alleged to also have stolen a shotgun from the same residence as well as cash, according to charging information filed June 25 in the Decatur Circuit Court. Bruner was arrested Tuesday following the service of a warrant that had been issued for his arrest last week.Police responded to a report of a burglary the morning of June 25 when a homeowner told police his home had been broken into and he believed several items had been stolen.A Razor UTV and $800 in cash from an RV parked in an outbuilding on his property were reported missing. The doors of the vehicles were not locked and the key had been left in the ignition of the UTV, the homeowner said.A juvenile suspect allegedly seen riding the UTV the morning following the burglary was later detained and questioned by police about the theft. The juvenile directed police to Winchester, who lives with his father in a rental property in the 3800 block of West CR 1100S in Westport. Winchester was not home when authorities arrived, but neighbors stated they had seen the suspect and other individuals operating a UTV that morning, according to authorities. Witnesses said Winchester had left with others in a black Dodge truck prior to the arrival of police.The home at which Winchester and his father live is owned by an Indiana State Police Trooper who consented to a search of the property’s barn and other areas when deputies contacted him regarding the incident. On the property, police discovered tire tracks consistent with those left by a UTV. The vehicle was located behind a barn and a dog kennel.Police met with Winchester when he returned to the home in his truck accompanied by Bruner, an adult female and a juvenile. Winchester denied stealing the UTV, but was arrested on suspicion of stolen property and burglary.Bruner was reportedly unconscious in the truck when police questioned the individuals who accompanied Winchester. He consented to a search after he was awakened by officers. Bruner and the adult female were later released at the scene. A juvenile in the truck was detained after officers discovered prescription anxiety medication in his possession. The boy was taken to the Westport Town Marshal’s office and later released into the care of his mother.After being confronted with multiple items of evidence linking him to the case, Winchester agreed to speak with police at the jail.During the conversation, Winchester is alleged to have admitted meeting Bruner and others June 22, and they decided to travel to the home to ride the UTV. Winchester said he did not enter any buildings on the property and was unaware Bruner and a juvenile were planning to do so. He also said he did not take any money from the residence.Before his arrest, Bruner was interviewed by police. During the course of the taped conversation, the suspect is alleged to have admitted the money found in his wallet during the search of the truck was stolen. He turned $243 over to police when the interview concluded, but stated he had used the remainder to pay bills and pay off debts to friends. Items found in Winchester’s truck, including a handgun magazine, were later discovered to match items reported stolen from off a tractor in northern Jennings County.A call to the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department seeking comment was not returned by press time Wednesday. Sheriff Greg Allen said both juveniles had been released back into the care of their parents, though one child was briefly detained at the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center. A female acquaintance to Bruner was not charged after prosecutors reviewed evidence in the case.Both suspects remained incarcerated in the Decatur County Jail Wednesday on $2,000 cash bonds. Both indicated they intend to hire attorneys at separate court appearances.Winchester’s trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 28 in the Decatur Circuit Court. Bruner’s is set to begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 3 in the same location.


June 28, 2014
Two jailed following meth bust
By Brent Brown
     The Greensburg Daily News

WESTPORT – Acting on a tip, Town Marshals and Deputy Sheriffs arrested a pair of rural Decatur County residents earlier this week after a search of their rental home revealed methamphetamine and items related to its manufacture.Information from the Decatur Circuit Court states Joshua L. Harris, 37, and Sharon D. Huber, 52, were arrested late Wednesday. Each faces felony charges of dealing (manufacture) in methamphetamine and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.Huber has also been charged with maintaining a common nuisance, a class D felony, while Harris faces a misdemeanor charge of possession of paraphernalia.A tip to Westport Town Marshal Joe Talkington launched the investigation Wednesday, which concluded when police obtained a search warrant and arrived at a residence located in the 10000 block of West CR 850 South in Westport.Huber answered the door when police arrived shortly after 9 p.m. and was detained on the front porch after officers announced their presence. The home was secured, but Harris, whom police initially believed to be living at the residence, was not immediately located.Harris was discovered a short time later hiding underneath bales of hay in a nearby barn, according to a police report. He was arrested without incident.During the search, officers discovered “various drug paraphernalia and material used in the manufacture of methamphetamine” inside the residence, court documents state. Evidence was collected and members of the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Team arrived to contain the hazardous materials. K-9 Officer Rango, who is handled by Deputy Sheriff Rob Goodfellow, alerted authorities to the presence of illicit materials throughout the home.Officers also discovered a modified propane tank that contained anhydrous ammonia, a chemical commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.A previous arrest warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of failure to pay child support was issued in May. Officers attempted to serve the warrant to Harris at the same home, but Huber told police Harris had moved away.Both suspects were awaiting court appearances by Daily News press time Friday afternoon. It was not known if either had obtained legal counsel. No bond had been set for either suspect.

 

June 27, 2014

Shelbyville woman in prison for molestation
By Rob Cox      The Greensburg Daily News

GREENSBURG — A Shelbyville woman arrested last year and charged with two counts of child molestation for engaging a 13-year-old Decatur County boy in a sexual relationship has been given two 4-year sentences with the Indiana Department of Corrections. Those sentences, handed down Tuesday by Decatur County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Day, require Hannah Jo Stuart, 23, to serve concurrent, 18-month prison terms on two C Felony molestation charges. Stuart will serve the remainder of the sentences on supervised probation and be required to register as a sex offender. Following her arrest in May 2013, Stuart was initially charged with two B Felonies, but, through a plea agreement with Decatur County Deputy Prosecutor Doug Brown, was allowed to plea to the lesser C counts. Day also granted Stuart credit for 25 actual days served in jail, from May 2 to May 26, 2013. Stuart committed the acts for which she was arrested, charged and convicted in the spring of 2012, on two separate occasions, according to charging information. In an interview with law enforcement and representatives from the Indiana Department of Child Services before her arrest, Stuart allegedly admitted to having intercourse with the boy in a Forest Hill residence. An arrest warrant in the case was issued sometime later. Following her formal guilty plea and sentencing Tuesday, Stuart was remanded to the Decatur County Jail. On Thursday, she’ll be transferred to the Rockville Correctional Facility to begin serving her prison term.


June 13, 2014
Man jailed for alleged dealing of morphine
By Brent Brown   
   The Greensburg Daily News

WESTPORT – A Decatur County man believed to be selling pain killing medication at his place of employment was arrested and jailed Wednesday on a charge of dealing in a narcotic drug.Westport Town Marshal Joe Talkington, with assistance from the Greensburg Police Department, arrested Carl J. Griffith, 26, of the 8600 block of East CR 1300 North in Greensburg Tuesday following an investigation that began in late April.At that time, Griffith is alleged to have exchanged two 60 mg morphine pills for $50 cash from a confidential police informant. The drug deal took place early in the evening of April 29 at 106 South West Street in Westport, according to a GPD offense report filed that day in the Decatur Circuit Court. Morphine is a highly addictive pain killing medication that, if abused, can lead to a host of hazardous side effects, some of which can be fatal.Following the transaction, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Griffith which was served to the suspect this week. Following his court appearance, a cash bond of $25,000 was set for Griffith’s release. He remained incarcerated in the Decatur County Jail by Daily News press time Thursday. Attorney Mark Jones was appointed as Griffith’s defense counsel Wednesday. A trial date was set for Oct. 21.The charge of dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug is a Class A felony, which can carry a prison sentence of between 20 and 50 years as well as a fine of up to $10,000 under state law.


May 28, 2014
Westport man LifeLined after vehicle crushes his leg
By Boris Ladwig
     The Greensburg Daily News

WESTPORT — A Westport man was taken by medical helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital after his leg was crushed by a car driven by his stepdaughter.Mark, Hainig, 51, suffered a compound leg fracture, according to Westport Town Marshall Joe Talkington. Hainig’s status was not available Tuesday evening.Talkington said Hainig returned Tuesday to his home on Poplar Street to see his stepson and stepdaughter, when a verbal altercation ensued.The stepdaughter, Myndi Ruiz, 29, decided to leave with the stepson early afternoon to avoid further conflict, Talkington said. When she tried to drive away, with the stepson in the passenger seat, Hainig tried to enter the vehicle, and the right front tire ran over his leg.“She was trying to get away from the situation,” Talkington said. “It was a total accident.”Talkington said that while the incident with the vehicle has been ruled an accident, the investigation surrounding the accident, including the altercation, is ongoing.Westport Volunteer Fire Department, Decatur County EMS and Decatur County Sheriff’s Department responded.


February 14, 2014
Dogs on patrol
By Brent Brown
     The Greensburg Daily News

GREENSBURG – Fulfilling the duties required of a police officer is one thing; being a responsible pet owner is quite another.Combine the two and you might have a better idea of what a night on patrol is like for a K-9 officer.Decatur County Sheriff’s Deputy Rob Goodfellow and Westport Town Marshal Joe Talkington have recently joined Greensburg Police Officer Jordan Craig as K-9 officers in the Decatur County community. All three officers now have four-legged partners capable of following criminal trails and sniffing out illicit substances.For Rob Goodfellow, the duty is a dream come true.“I’ve always wanted to be a K-9 officer,” the 20-year Army veteran and former Westport Deputy Marshal told the Daily News Thursday.Goodfellow is now accompanied on patrol by Rango, a black Labrador Retriever trained in narcotics detection, tracking and article searches.Rango rides in the back of Deputy Goodfellow’s patrol car and is capable of detecting marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. The police dog was purchased through donations from the Decatur County community and was acquired after a lengthy search that encompassed 12 kennels in four different states.Rango is Goodfellow’s first K-9 partner, and has already assisted in one arrest.Rango’s immediate impact is just what Joe Talkington expected.Talkington patrols the Westport area with Keno, a veteran German Shepherd officer who was recently equipped with a bulletproof/stab-proof vest.Keno has also earned his proverbial stripes in the line of duty, recently helping sniff out an alleged methamphetamine operation.Goodfellow and Talkington agreed that the mere presence of a police dog adds to officer safety and serves as a reminder that local police are pushing back against those who push drugs in the Decatur County community.And they’re definitely not alone.Greensburg Officer Jordan Craig, who has raised his pet/police partner Krieger, makes up a trio of officers among three different departments dedicated to using the unique talents K-9 officers bring to the practice of law enforcement. Additionally, Talkington said the Indiana State Police support multiple K-9 units, and that group has assisted in officer training with the three local officers patrolling the streets with a furry friend.That job, however, is anything but easy in spite of the extra help given by the duly deputized dogs.“It’s a lot of work,” Goodfellow said with a smile. Talkington added the job is 24/7 and entails all aspects of proper pet ownership.K-9 officers are responsible for maintaining the health and well-being of their partners on and off duty. The logistics of involving an animal in delicate police work also requires following stringent regulations and attending hours upon hours of training for proper certification.But for officers like Rob Goodfellow and Joe Talkington, the effort is more than worthwhile.“It’s a little like having another kid,” Goodfellow joked, adding that at times he feels he spends more time with Rango than he does with his family. Rango in a sense IS family, though, as the police dog is one of four pooches in the Goodfellow household.Likewise, Talkington grew up appreciating the intelligence and bravery of dogs under the tutelage of his father, Robert Talkington, who was one of the pioneers of the Columbus Police Department’s K-9 unit.Both men are also well aware of the community-wide effort it has taken to support the three programs.Talkington purchased Keno, who previously served the DCSD under Lt. Eric Blodgett, with his own funds.Goodfellow acquired Rango through numerous grants and donations.Specifically, Goodfellow wished to publicly thank Dogs All Day, J & L Minutemaids, Inc., Redelman Shepherds, Immaculate Conception Church, Stone’s Farm Service, Don Meyer Ford, Decatur County REMC, Greensburg Meat Locker, Wickens Insurance, GECOM, Westport Dairy Queen and Pavey’s Grocery.Further assistance came from the Animal Medical Clinic, Grand Casino and Track, Davis Towing and Recovery and Seymour D.R. Clinic. Keno, Rango and Krieger’s meals are obtained through Tractor Supply Company. Numerous private donations also helped bring Rango onto the county’s police squad.Donations, Goodfellow and Talkington said, are constantly needed to keep the respective K-9 programs up and running. Those wishing to donate to any of the programs may do so by visiting or contacting the Greensburg Police Department, Decatur County Sheriff’s Department or Westport Town Hall, they added.In spite of the ever-present need for community support, Rango and Keno give back in more ways than simply through their police work.Goodfellow and Talkington took part in a demonstration for elementary students in Bartholomew County Thursday, and both officers look forward to future opportunities to conduct similar events at local schools or for clubs and organizations.Parties interested in doing so should contact respective law enforcement offices, they said.In the meantime, the dogs are on patrol in Decatur County, ready to sniff out crime and help make “collars” whenever necessary.“They’ve done a really good job so far,” Marshal Talkington said of Keno and Rango. “It’s [the K-9 program] definitely improved public safety.”