David M. Cassady

Autopsy Confirms Woman Killed Husband, Self

Health Care Workers Found Bodies

December 3, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- A 75-year-old Indianapolis woman shot and killed her husband before taking her own life Wednesday evening, police said.

Officers were called to a home at 7429 Lantern Rd. just before 8 p.m. after two health care workers found the door unlocked and the couple dead inside, said Sgt. Paul Thompson.

Police identified the man and woman as David M. Cassady, 74, and Ruth Cassady, 75.

An autopsy on Thursday confirmed that Ruth Cassady shot her husband in bed and then shot and killed herself, Thompson said.

"It's unusual to respond to this type of call in this neighborhood," he said.

Neighbors said that David Cassady was retired from the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, where he served as a curator, and currently worked at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis.

The school's Web site listed a David Cassady as a curriculum adviser in the museum studies department for the 2004-2005 school year, but he was not listed in the current faculty.

Police said the health care workers were at the home to perform therapy on David Cassady's arm.

James Dantzler

James Dantzler

Man Faces Murder Charge In Toddler's Death

Man Says Wrestling Led To Boy's Injuries

POSTED: 2:21 pm EST December 11, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A man is expected to be charged with murder after his girlfriend's son died at an Indianapolis hospital.

Bloomington police said Christopher Bridgewater, 27, told officers that he struck James Dantzler, 3, several times while wrestling with the boy.

The boy was found unresponsive in his home Thursday and was taken by medical helicopter to Riley Hospital for Children, where he later died.

Dantzler's mother, Jessica Merryman, 30, was arrested on a charge of neglect of a dependent.

Police said Dantzler suffered numerous bruises to his neck, forehead, abdomen, chest and inside his ears.

A murder charge against Bridgewater is expected to be filed on Monday.


Jessica Merryman, 30, had been jailed in lieu of half a million dollars bond since the death of her son, James Dantzler. Merryman’s boyfriend, 27-year-old Christopher Bridgewaters, is being held in jail without bond on a charge of murder. Police allege he inflicted the injuries that resulted in the child’s death. He faces life in prison without parole.

On Dec. 15, Diekhoff denied Merryman’s request to be released so she could bury her son. Six days later, Monroe Circuit Judge Marc Kellams upheld the high bond amount and sent Merryman back to her cell.

Today, appearing with Chapman, a distraught Merryman asked Diekhoff once again to reduce her bail. This time, the judge agreed to do so. “What I’m willing to do, Mr. Chapman, is to reduce it to what an A felony bond would be since she has no previous record,” she said. Merryman’s bail is now in line with the board of judges’ bond schedule: $50,000 surety plus $1,000 cash.

Merryman’s family would have to come up with $6,000 — $5,000 for a bail bondsman plus the cash bond. She was still in jail this afternoon.

Police reported that James Dantzler had more than 50 bruises over his chest and abdomen, under his chin and on his forehead. An autopsy showed the child died from internal bleeding in his abdomen and brain.

She reportedly told police James was afraid of Bridgewaters and begged not to be left alone with him, but she left the toddler in his care anyway. She called an ambulance the afternoon of Dec. 10 when she came home and realized the boy was not breathing. He died the next day at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.


December 18, 2009

Allen Dantzler weeps for his three-year-old son James, a three-year old murdered in Bloomington. While his tears fall, Dantzler vows to attend every hearing to seek justice for his son.

"If he was too much for you, why you didn't call me and give him to me?" said Dantzler, referring to the mother of his son Jessica Merryman. Merryman now sits in jail.

"He could have been here, he would have been OK. He would have been at home and safe," he tells Fox 59 News. Merryman's boyfriend, Chris Bridgewaters, is charged with brutally beating James to death.

Reports say James had more than 50 bruises on his body with extensive internal bleeding in his head and abdomen. His mother, Jessica, is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. If convicted, she could face more than 20 years in jail, but for Allen Dantzler, that's not enough. He feels she should face stiffer charges.

"I think what he got, should be the same thing she should get," said Allen. "She let it happen."

In fact, Police say Merryman was at the house and called 911 when police responded and found James not breathing at her home. She said her boyfriend Bridgewaters was roughhousing with James.

Allen Dantzler had to make the painful decision to take his son off life support last Friday. Doctors told him his son's heart would eventually give out.

"I miss him. I miss him so much. He was a happy little guy real outgoing he loved people."

Merryman had reportedly asked to get out of jail to attend her son's funeral, but Allen Dantzler said she was lying because no service had been scheduled. This angered him along with the fact she's requesting a bond reduction (though she already only has to come up with $1000 for her current $500,000 surety).

Dantzler vows to attend every hearing for both charged in his son's death. "I'll be there," he said. "I'll be doing it for him. For James."

See Facebook page created for dear James here.

Robin L. Everitt

Indiana State Police arrest stepson in double shooting

November 9, 2009

An argument among family members ended with one man dead and another injured following a double shooting Sunday three miles outside of Austin, Indiana.

Family members, who did not want to be interviewed, stood at the edge of a dark, desolate driveway Sunday evening as crime scene investigators combed over the home in the 3700 block of Bogardus Road, located just east of the city of Austin, Indiana.

Indiana State Police say 59-year old Robin L. Everitt was shot and killed following an argument with his stepson, Jason Uhlenbrock, 29. Neighbors say Uhlenbrock went to the home to visit his mother and Everitt but became angry after the two apparently told him he could not go deer hunting.

Investigators with Indiana State Police would not confirm those details.

During altercation, another man, whose identity could not be verified, was also shot in the abdomen, according to Sgt. Jerry Goodin, a spokesman for Indiana State Police Post in Sellersburg. That man, described as a friend of Everitt, was later flown to University Hospital in Louisville where he remained in stable condition late Sunday.

Uhlenbrock remains in the Scott County Jail charged with murder and attempted murder.


A heartbroken southern Indiana family wants the public to know what really happened this weekend when a man in Austin, Indiana was killed.

59-year-old Robin Everitt was shot to death Sunday afternoon in his home in Scott County.

The man's stepson is charged with the crime but the suspect's family says it’s an act of violence that goes much deeper than the police investigation.

A woman lost her husband to a gunshot wound and now her son is charged with killing him.

A close family friend says they don't know why this happened but they have an idea about what triggered the alleged act of violence.

Those who know 29-year-old Jason Uhlenbrock say this isn't the man they love.

They say his mug shot illustrates his state of mind. They tell WHAS11 that he is bi-polar and struggled with the illness for years.

They believe he was on his medication when he allegedly shot and killed his stepfather Robin Everitt and wounded Everitt’s friend at their home in Austin.

“The most difficult thing with bipolar disorder is accepting that you have the disorder it takes 10 to 30 years sometimes before they really accept it and do something about it,” said a psychiatrist who didn't treat Uhlenbrock but does treat those with bi-polar disorder.

He tells us what happens to the mind when those who are bi-polar stop taking their medication.

“It can cause impulsivity become very short tempered and explosive and on edge.”

Those who suffer from bi-polar disorder say it’s not always easy taking medication because your mind isn't working at a rapid pace.

“The medication brings you to a normal level but you miss that feeling because it helps you accomplish things it helps you focus on intricate things that you can get done very rapidly and you miss that.”

Molly Clouse also tells me she didn't like the public stigma that came from taking medication for a mental illness.

“If we don't have hope that life will get better it’s hard to stay on our medications.” Uhlenbrock's family and friends didn't want to be interviewed for this story but say they hope it helps others to think twice about not taking their medication.

National statistics show that 1 in 5 adults have a diagnosable mental illness.

The courts will have to decide if Uhlenbrock is mentally competent to stand trial.

Indiana State Police say that when the shooting happened Monrday there didn't appear to be any signs of an argument.

Jon David

Police Issue Warrant for Murder Suspect's Arrest

November 21, 2009

POSEY CO., IN - Investigators have issued a murder warrant for the arrest of 39-year-old Lee Kershaw of Mount Vernon Ill. in connection with the shooting death of 43-year-old Jon David early Saturday morning at 420 Coronado Drive, Mt. Vernon, Ind. Kershaw is wanted on charges of murder, attempted murder and burglary resulting in bodily injury.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Kershaw's ex-wife, Lisa Kershaw, told police that sometime before 4:50 a.m. a man she believed to be her ex-husband entered the master bedroom of her home where she and David were sleeping and fired multiple rounds. Fearing for her life she made her way into the nearby bathroom where the intruder proceeded to assault her with the stock of the weapon.

In the affidavit she begged for her life as attacker struck her in the face, leg and abdomen before leaving residence. Lee Kershaw's 17-year-old biological son was home during the attack and ran across the street to a neighbor's house for help.

According to the affidavit, Kershaw's son told police that a few weeks prior Kershaw said that he fantasized about killing David and then killing himself. Lisa filed for divorced from Lee on September 14, 2009. The divorce was finalized November 16th.

In the affidavit, investigators obtained Kershaw's bank records that showed a $200 ATM withdrawal around 6:15 a.m. that morning at an Evansville bank on West Franklin Street. Another withdrawal attempt was made for $400 at 8:15 a.m. in Marston, Missouri.

The affidavit also states that Kershaw called his mother Saturday afternoon from an unknown cell phone to say he was sorry, that he loved her and his brother and that he would never see them again. He told her that he shot Lisa's boyfriend but did not know if he killed him.

David was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering three gunshot wounds, once in the torso, another in the leg and a through-and-through injury to the hand. ISP crime lab stated that there were four 7.62 caliber rounds found in the wall and bed of the residence.

John C. Hall

John C. Hall

Man arrested for murder, setting fire

November 11, 2009

Crawfordsville - A man has been arrested for killing another man and setting him on fire.

Justin Morris, 25, was arrested for killing his mother's boyfriend, 52-year-old John Hall in her home. He reportedly the house on fire to try to cover up the crime at 1502 Payton Street Friday morning. Investigators were called to the scene after firefighters discovered Hall's body inside the burned house.

"There was something in my gut and my heart that said, 'Justin did it'," said neighbor Hailey Graves.

Graves says she knows Morris, but is still trying to figure out why he killed Hall.

"Just anger. Rage, maybe?" she said.

"There was an argument between Mr. Morris and Mr. Hall and apparently it became physical and as a result, there was some head trauma to Mr. Hall," said Crawfordsville Police Chief Kurt Knecht.

Police say Morris attacked Hall and then took him into the front bedroom of the house.

"At that point, the bedroom was intentionally set on fire," said Knecht.

Hall had left his mother's house about a month ago and he found refuge across the street.

"I was shocked. I was surprised. I was disappointed," said Graves.

People who know the family say there were no obvious signals that Morris might snap.

"To my understanding, he thought that John was a good choice for his mother," said Graves.

The investigation is still ongoing and police are hopeful more questions will be answered in the coming days.

"He just did it. I guess no one really knows," Graves said. "The only truth, Justin knows. Justin knows the truth."

Tonya Earley

Ex-boyfriend shot woman in front of their kids, then killed himself

November 10, 2009

Police said a woman was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend Tuesday at a Michigan City area school bus stop while their children looked on.

About 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, police were called to LaPorte County Road 1000 North and County Road 425 West, just east of Michigan City, where officers found 30-year-old Tonya Earley dead from a single gunshot, police said. The shot was fired either as the bus was pulling up or just seconds prior to the bus arriving.

LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said Earley's body was found lying in the street beside her car and the children were still in the vehicle when she was shot.

"That's something they're going to remember the rest of their lives. It's a very unfortunate situation," Mollenhauer said.

About 10 minutes later, police found her ex-boyfriend -- 41-year-old David Streeting -- dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a vehicle about a half-mile north from where Earley was shot, police said.

Investigators also learned that an acquaintance of Earley was with her at the time of the shooting and he fled when she was shot. Police said he suffered an injury while leaving the scene of the shooting. Police did not release his name, the type of injury he suffered, his condition or how he knew Earley.

Earley and Streeting, both of LaPorte County, were the biological parents of the children, ages 8 and 10, police said.

Michele Pokuta, who lives on County Road 1000 North, was driving to her job in New Buffalo, Mich., and saw the body at the crime scene. She said police had not arrived yet and Earley was lying on her back with one arm draped over her chest.

The school bus was stopped and the driver was on his cell phone.

"I was pretty shaken up. At first, I couldn't think straight," Pokuta said.

Because the shooter already had fled the scene when officers arrived, authorities placed Springfield Elementary School -- two miles away -- under a lockdown, police said.

Mollenhauer said Earley lived at Green Acres Trailer Park and drove a short distance to her parents' home, where the couple's children were residing. She picked them up and took them to the bus stop to see them off to school.

Because the couple used to live together, Mollenhauer said Streeting likely knew exactly when to show up at the bus stop.

"When she pulled up, he pulled up," Mollenhauer said.

According to court records, a hearing was held for the couple Sept. 9 and an order was issued governing child visitation and child support.

Mollenhauer said preliminary information from the investigation indicates there was a protective order against Streeting.

Michigan City school officials did not return calls regarding the lockdown or students who might have been of the school bus.

Deneisha Watford

Deneisha Watford

Slain Woman's Boyfriend Arrested In Other Attack

Robert Sarver Person Of Interest In Girlfriend's Killing

November 20, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- The boyfriend of a woman found strangled to death in her home was arrested Friday in an attack on another woman.

Robert Sarver, 32, voluntarily talked with police Friday about the death of his girlfriend, Deneisha Watford, 28, who was killed sometime Wednesday in her home at 1831 Bauer Road, said Sgt. Paul Thompson.

Police said Sarver is considered a person of interest in the Watford's death, but he was arrested in connection with an attack on a different woman two weeks ago.

Investigators said Sarver choked and beat Tiesha Williams during an argument.

He was preliminarily charged with strangulation, criminal confinement, domestic battery, battery and being a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm in that case.

"We would have had him come in eventually, so he just came in on his own to talk about it but, he has not given us any information in regard to the Watford investigation," Thompson said.

Sarver's mug shot was not released Friday because Thompson said identification by witnesses in Watford's death was still ongoing.

Neighbors told 6News that they saw Watford with a man outside her home shortly before her death.


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Metro Police said a 28-year-old woman found dead in her east side home Wednesday night was strangled.

Officers have arrested Deneisha Watford's boyfriend, 32-year-old Robert Sarver, on unrelated charges. He's facing several charges for allegedly choking an ex-girlfriend several weeks ago. She survived.

At first, police didn't think Watson's the death was a homicide, they considered it a death investigation.

In the 911 call, Watford's mother can be heard telling dispatchers, "I just came to pick up my grandbaby and my daughter. I heard she fell inside and I see my grandbaby inside and my daughter's on the floor."

The dispatcher asked Watford's mother if she was able to get inside the house. Watford's mother replied, "Yes, yes! Can you please hurry?"

Police said the fire department was first to arrive at Watford's home. They found her lying on the ground inside and tried to revive her. She was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later.

Neighbors said Watford and her daughter have only lived in the house for a few months.

"We just don't know how to take it in this neighborhood. Everybody's kind of afraid," said neighbor Larry Hampton.

Watford's mother told 24-Hour News 8 she didn't want to say anything until detectives make an arrest in her daughter's killing. Right now, Watford's boyfriend is a person of interest in the investigation.

Alexis Oesterle

 Alexis Oesterle

Teenage Victim's Step-Father Arrested In Connection with Her Death

November 4, 2009

ROCKPORT, IN - Indiana State Police investigators have ruled a 15-year-old Rockport, Indiana girl's death murder. And her step father is jailed Wednesday, charged with the crime.

Friends and those who knew her describe 15-year-old Alexis Oesterle as a fun-loving, beautiful young girl.  Wearing t-shirts and displaying signs in her memory, they gathered at a Wednesday afternoon news conference to confirm what many already knew.

"State Police Investigators arrested Ryan Lee Shelby for the murder of his step-daughter, Alexis Oesterle," said ISP Sergeant Chad Dick." The preliminary cause of death is loss of blood from a wound in Alexis' neck area."

"She was my best friend," Sabrina Winkler says.

Winkler and other friends who spent Sunday afternoon with Oesterle say she seemed extremely happy, and never suspected what would happen after saying goodbye to her that night.

"Her and him didn't get along. He seemed really nice but I had a weird feeling when I was around him," Winkler tells NEWS 25.

A neighborhood friend says he didn't suspect a thing

"He was always nice to me. They were always really quiet as a family. We didn't know much of them," says neighbor, Hunter Wetzel.

Investigators say Shelby is currently their only suspect and will not elaborate on a motive.

They're crediting the arrest to Deputy Jason Dunsworth, who says he conducted a full search because something in the house just didn't seem right the night Shelby reported Oesterle missing.

"Due to his extra steps of investigating the full residence, the body was discovered. Had he not done that, probably, the body would have been disposed of," Spencer County Prosecutor Dan Wilkinson says.

The search turned out to be the key to the investigation and the news that broke the hearts of Alexis Oesterle's friends and family.

Shelby will be arraigned in Spencer County Court Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

Investigators say that even though he is in custody, there is still more investigating to be done.

Jacob Lord

Jacob Lord

Man To Be Arraigned In 2-Year-Old's Slaying

November 2, 2009

SELLERSBURG, Ind. -- An Indiana man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend's 2-year-old son will be arraigned Monday.

Police say Jacob Lord was injured after his mother dropped him off at Hensley's apartment. Lord's mother told WLKY News the boy came home covered in bruises from head-to-toe.

Lord’s mother said Hensley told her the boy had fallen from a bed. Hensley later told the boy’s mother he fell down the stairs and hit his head on the chair.

Lord's mother said her son was napping at home when he had a seizure. She brought the toddler to Scott Memorial Hospital with serious injuries on Wednesday.  He was later taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, where he died Wednesday evening.

An autopsy performed Thursday in Louisville determined Lord died of an inflicted closed head injury.  Hensley, an ex-boyfriend of Lord’s mother, was arrested at home Friday afternoon in Austin, Ind. on murder and felony battery charges. He was taken to the Scott County Jail and is awaiting his first court appearance.

"He seemed nice in front of everybody else, but every time my grandson would come over and stay with him by himself he always got hurt,” said Lord’s grandmother Joyce Bowling.

The case is still under investigation.

"As we go through this investigation, if we find anybody else that bears responsibility to the crime that's happened to this child, then we're going to be presenting to those charges to the prosecutor's office and we're going to be arresting those people too,” said ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin.

Denise Hudson Caraway

Bedford Woman Murdered by Husband

October 9, 2009

A woman who died from a gunshot wound Wednesday evening was shot multiple times in the head, chest and lower abdomen, according to Lawrence County Coroner John Sherrill.

The gunshot wounds were from the .22-caliber revolver recovered at the scene.

Bedford police received a call at 7:23 p.m. Wednesday for an ambulance on Washington Ave. where Denise Caraway, 48, had been shot according to police. After arriving at the scene, officers discovered she was dead from a gunshot wound.

Her husband Larry Michael Caraway, 47, was arrested Wednesday evening on a preliminary charge of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting. Caraway remains in the Lawrence County Security Center on a $200,000 cash. At this point, he has not appeared in court.

Denise (Hudson) Caraway was a teacher at Head Start and her husband is a Times-Mail newspaper carrier and mows lawns. The couple has two adult sons, one of whom lives at the residence, according to police. Only the couple was home when the shooting happened.

Parsley said police officers had been to the home before to investigate domestic disputes between the couple, the most recent being in June.


(BEDFORD, IN) - A Bedford man will serve the maximum 65 years in prison for murdering his wife in October of 2009.  48-year-old Larry Caraway plead guilty in February to shooting his wife, 48-year-old Denise Caraway, seven times.

Initially, Caraway told police he and his wife were arguing about bills when she retrieved a gun and shot herself.  He later admitted he had fabricated that story.

Claudia Tierrablanca Sanchez

Man arrested in woman's stabbing death

October 1, 2009

Indianapolis police arrested a man at a home where a woman was stabbed Wednesday morning in what they say was an apparent domestic homicide.

Claudia Tierrablanca Sanchez, 21, was found with stab wounds about 5:30 a.m. in the living room of her home in the 400 block of North Arsenal Avenue on the Near Eastside. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Officers arrested Juan Alejandro Silva Capulin, 27, thought to be the woman’s boyfriend or husband, on a preliminary murder charge.

The couple’s 21-month-old son was home, but police didn’t think he witnessed the killing. He was placed in the care of a relative.

Police said the couple came to the U.S. from Mexico about four years ago and had undocumented immigration status.

Mardale Totten

Stabbing was self-defense; man ID'd

Police believe the stabbing was the result of a domestic dispute

September 28, 2009

Fort Wayne Police said the fatal stabbing of a city man at 4 a.m. Saturday by a woman he knew was inflicted in self-defense, although ruled the city's 16th homicide.

The woman, who had been taken into custody after police said she stabbed 30-year-old Mardale Totten in the neck at an apartment at 708 Oaklawn Court, in Chapel Oaks complex, was interviewed, then released without being charged, according to Office Roy Sutphin of the Fort Wayne Police Department.

“We don't release people when we know they killed somebody,” said Sutphin. “And we just don't release people who could be a danger to the public.”

After interviewing several witnesses and the woman, Sutphin said police believe the stabbing was the result of a domestic dispute between Totten, who has a prison record for violence, and the woman. What the domestic dispute exactly entailed, Sutphin would not comment.

“The investigation is ongoing, but for the moment, until proven otherwise, we're going on the aspect that it was along the lines of self-defense,” Sutphin said.

Totten's death was ruled the city's 16th homicide of 2009 by the Allen County Coroner's Office.

On Saturday, police responding to the Oaklawn Court address found Totten unconscious and bleeding. He was treated at the scene before being rushed to a local hospital, where he later died.

Sutphin said that because the woman has not been charged with any crime, police are not required to release her name.

When Totten was 18, he was convicted of stabbing his uncle, Marquas K. Smith, to death in 1997. He served 10 years of a 15-year sentence for aggravated battery before being released in 2008, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Christine Lindsey

Victims' names released in LaPorte County double homicide

September 19, 2009

Two people are dead after a shooting in LaPorte County and police have arrested a possible suspect involved in the shooting.

42-year-old Clayton Scott Lindsey of rural New Carlisle was taken into custody without incident Saturday night after being contacted by police through his cell phone. He's facing two preliminary charges of murder. The prosecuting attorney's office says it will file formal charges sometime this week.

The Laporte County Sheriff's office says the homicide victims are 39-year-old Christine Lindsey of Kingsford Heights, Indiana and 38-year-old Chad Zolman of Defiance, Ohio. Police have not confirmed Zolman's relationship with Christine at this time other than saying they are believed to be acquaintances.

Christine and Clayton Lindsey were married but separated.

Family members say Lindsey killed his estranged wife, who they call Tina Heinis, and her male friend. Family members also say Heinis was in the process of getting divorced from Lindsey – and that Heinis tried previously to get a restraining order against Lindsey but a judge denied her attempt. Family members say Lindsey had a history of harassing and threatening Heinis and her family.

The couple has two kids; but family members say they were not at the home of Heinis at the time of the shooting.

Neighbor Robert Sampson recently moved to the Kingsford Heights neighborhood in LaPorte County from South Bend. He and his wife brought their five kids to get away from crime.

"We wanted something safe, for the kids to grow up and play," said Sampson. After Saturday’s double homicide, though, he and his wife are having second thoughts.

"My wife's real paranoid, like she wants to move like immediately," he said. “It's mind blowing, it's just something we would never expect to happen around here.”

Police responded to the 3800 block of Nordway road in Kingsford Heights Saturday at approximately 3:36 p.m. to investigate a report of shots fired in a home. Shortly thereafter, deputies found the two victims inside fatally shot.

Autopsies were performed Monday morning.

Lindsey is currently being held in the LaPorte County Jail with no bond on preliminary charges of Murder, class "A" felonies. Formal charges are expected to be filed this week.


LaPORTE | A Mill Creek-area man agreed to a 75-year prison sentence for the shotgun slayings of his estranged wife and her male companion.

Clayton Lindsey, 44, pleaded guilty Friday in LaPorte Circuit Court to two counts of murder.

He was scheduled to stand trial starting May 23 but in exchange for the plea he will not face a potential maximum 65-year sentence on each count.

The plea also calls for 25 years probation upon his release from incarceration.

Lindsey admitted to the September 2009 killings of Christine Lindsey, 39, and Chad Zolman, 38.

The Ohio man and Christine Lindsey were in her Kingsford Heights residence when Clayton Lindsey crashed into his estranged wife's parked vehicle and stormed inside killing both victims with shotgun blasts, according to LaPorte County Sheriff's Department.

Judge Tom Alevizos took the guilty plea under advisement and scheduled sentencing for July 18.

See post for dear friend Chad Zolman here.

Chad Michael Zolman

Chad Michael Zolman

Lindsey sentenced to 75 years for murder

July 19, 2011

LA PORTE — Katherine Heinis tried remaining strong but toward the end couldn't fight back tears when calling her former son-in-law a coward and how his brutal slaying of her daughter caused her in many ways also to die.

Clayton Lindsey was given a 75-year prison sentence Monday for two counts of murder and Class B felony battery.  He must also serve 10 years probation upon his release.

At 44, Judge Tom Alevizos told Lindsey he'll like spend the rest of his life behind bars.  With good time credit, the earliest Lindsey can expect to be released is at age 81.

Prior to sentencing, Lindsey apologized for fatally shooting his estranged wife, Christine Lindsey and Chad Zolman in September of 2009.

The Mill Creek area man drove into his estranged wife's vehicle, broke into her home and then gunned down Mrs. Lindsey and Zolman with a shotgun inside a Kingsford Heights residence that she moved into after she had filed for divorce.

Lindsey over tears told his former mother-in-law ‘'I loved her'' when she asked why he killed them.

Heinis told Lindsey pursuing boyfriends wasn't why she left him as he had claimed.  It was his physical abuse.

‘'I know what was going on inside that home,'' Heinis said.  She said Christine on several prior occasions left but eventually returned under the belief that Lindsey would come after her and even their children if she left him for good.

‘'She knew she would never escape him,'' Heinis said.

Heinis also told Lindsey in the courtroom ‘'you treated her like a possession. She was a person. You thought of no one but yourself,'' said Heinis.

‘'Just remember your children and what you did to them,'' said Heinis.

Zolman, 38, from Ohio was highly regarded by those who knew him including children he coached in football and other sports.

His 4-year old niece regularly places peanut butter cookies on his grave, said his mother, Deborah Zolman.  ‘'He's missed by many more than I could have imagined,'' she said.

Defense attorney David Jones told the court the plea agreement was reached after several months of negotiating with prosecutors.  He felt one factor working in his client's favor was admitting guilt and sparing the families of the victims from having to endure a trial.  ‘'That's the best he can do. He can't take back what happened,'' Jones said.

La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Fronk said no amount of time can ever equal the pain suffered by the victims but felt terms of the plea achieved a high level of justice in the case.


Chad Michael Zolman, 38, Defiance, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, September 19, 2009, at 3:37 p.m. in LaPorte, Indiana.

He was born in Napoleon, Ohio, on September 3, 1971, the son of Joseph and Deborah (Bowers) Zolman. He married Lisa Marie White on May 9, 1993, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chad is survived by his wife, Lisa; son, Chad Duane; and daughter, Kayleigh Marie, both at home. Also surviving are his parents; three brothers, Scott, Las Vegas, Nevada, Ryan, Defiance, and Shawn (Nicole), of Defiance; nephew Troy Zolman, Idaho; nieces, Scylea and Amelia Zolman and Melody Sapp of Defiance and Dru Zolman, Idaho; godparents, Don and Phyllis Hohenbrink; and friends too numerous to list.

He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Paul Zolman; grandmother, Amelia (Zolman) Kreimbrink; stepgrandfather, August Kreimbrink; grandparents, Benjamin and Alice (Wentworth) Bowers.

A 1991 graduate of Liberty Center High School and Four County Vocational School, Chad enlisted in the U.S. Navy and proudly served in the Gulf War. He was a one-time member of the Defiance VFW Post 3360 and the Defiance Eagles Aerie 372. He assisted as a Tinora Jr. High School wrestling coach and coached the 5-6th grade Tinora Little Girls' Softball Team. He was an avid bowler, accomplishing two 300 games, and golfed on the St. Michael's golf league. Chad was also a member of the St. Michael's Catholic Church parish.

As a loving, warm-hearted husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend, he will be sadly and eternally missed by all. May God's angels always be at his side.

Public visitation will be held from 2-4 and 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Mast-Mock-Hoffman-Hanenkrath-Clevenger-Schaffer Funeral Home in Defiance. Reciting of the rosary will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Funeral Mass will be held by Father Dave Tscherne at St. Michael's Catholic Church, 5480 Moser Road, Defiance, at 11 a.m. Thursday, with military rites and burial at Riverside Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the entire family requests donations be made to the two surviving children for future educational purposes.

See post for dear friend Christine Lindsey here.

Jamison Essick

Teenager Facing Felony Charges To Undergo Examination

September 17, 2009

(BEDFORD) - A Bedford teenager that is accused of battery that eventually led to the death of his girlfriend’s 7 month old baby is set to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

17-year-old Casey Garrsion of Bedford is facing a class B felony of aggravated assault, the charges stem from the death of Jamison Essick on July 16th of this year.

Court documents showed that Essick died of multiple skull fractures consistent with blunt force trauma. According to a report in the Times Mail, Garrison was dating Essick's mother at the time of the incident.

Garrison is set to undergo the psychiatric evaluation to determine if he will be tried as an adult, and the evaluation is set to take place sometime this afternoon.

Garrison is currently being held in the Jackson County juvenile facility, but if the case is move to adult court he will be transferred to the Lawrence County Jail.


Jamison A. R. Essick

Dec. 11, 2008 — July 16, 2009

Jamison Allen Ray Essick, seven-month-old son of Kaitlin “Erin” Essick and Steven Allen Tolbert, died July 16 at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

Survivors include his mother, Kaitlin Essick and her fiance, Casey Garrison, both of Bedford; his father, Steven Tolbert, Greencastle; two grandmothers; his great-grandmother; two aunts; two uncles; several cousins and other relatives; and his caregivers, Jane Mitchell and Jean Mullis.

Memorial services will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Friendly Bible Church, 730 Pearless Road, Bedford, with Tim Jenkins officiating.


Teen gets 8 years for killing baby

June 4, 2010

BEDFORD — Still grieving, still imagining she hears his cries, Jane Mitchell confronted Casey Garrison in Lawrence Superior Court II and told him of the pain and devastation .

Jason Lee Joy

Woman Arrested For Man's Murder

September 3, 2009

(BEDFORD, IN) - A woman has been arrested by Bedford Police for a murder taking place in an apartment complex in Bedford.

According to a press release from the Bedford Police Department, police were called to the 3300 block of Michael Avenue at the Ridgewood Apartment Complex to discover a man laying in a pool of blood in the street.

After questioning 38-year-old Susan Renee May at the scene, police transported and later arrested May for the death of the man.

Police say that the victim of the shooting, 35-year-old Jason Lee Joy from Lawrence County and Susan May from Hendricks County had been engaged in a prior relationship.

Both May and Joy were homeless and had been staying at a friend's apartment at the time of the shooting.

Jason Joy is suspected to have died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds from a 9mm handgun while he was working on a car.

He was found lying face down in the street when police arrived.

One nearby resident reportedly looked out her window following the sound of gunshots to see what the commotion was when, she stated she saw the victim fall to the ground.

The witness then said that after the man fell to the ground, a woman walked up to his body and fired 5 additional bullets into the man.

The scene of the crime had previously been marked off for a couple of hours during the investigation; as of 9:00PM last night the scene had be re-opened.

Kathleen Vargas

Indianapolis Man Faces Murder, Rape Charges

"She was visibly shaking. She was crying, in a lot of pain, stated that he had just sexually assaulted her. He used an object to assault her, and that's what we believe caused much of the internal damage."

August 27, 2009

Indianapolis - Police are investigating an attack on an 80-year-old woman that they believe killed her. They say a man almost half her age sexually assaulted her and may soon be facing murder charges.

It happened on the east side in the 1000 block of North Kealing Avenue on July 18th.

Police say Kathleen Vargas was attacked in her own home about a month ago by her 46-year-old boyfriend. They say the sexual assault was so brutal that she was unable to recover. Vargas died Wednesday night.

On July 18th, police arrested 46-year-old Monte Ayres for attempted murder, aggravated battery and rape. They say he violently assaulted 80-year-old Kathleen Vargas.

"The injuries she sustained during the sexual attack may in fact be the cause of her death," said Lt. Jeff Duhamell.

Ayres may now be charged with Vargas' murder.

"He's in jail now and hopefully won't see daylight again," said Lt. Duhamell.

Police say Vargas went across the street to try to escape Ayres. That's where a neighbor said he found her crying and shaking violently.

"I heard this lady yell, hollering 'mister.' She was leaned up against the railing. I asked her what was going on and she said, 'He beat me up,'" said the neighbor.

Police say Ayres tried to flee the scene but they caught up with him in a back alley.

"He resisted officers and fought them. He has a past for that - resisting and drinking. This isn't the first run in officers have had with him. In fact they've been called to that residence on a few other occasions involving him and each time he's been very violent," said Lt. Duhamell.

Neighbors say Ayres was Vargas' live-in boyfriend. He lived on and off with the 80-year-old woman for a few years.

"From my understanding I believe she hired him to cut her grass one day and that's kind of how they met," said neighbor Darrell Powers.

"She had at times spoken to me about some problems. She felt she made a big mistake by letting him move in. I said, 'Well, if you're having problems you should have him removed,'" said Powers.

Police say they removed Ayres several times from her home at her request. But neighbors say she always took him back in.

"By some of the things she said I think she felt that maybe he would improve and she didn't want to throw him out on the street. He didn't have a place to go. So I think the nice part of her is what kept him around," Powers said.

Murder charges are pending the results of her autopsy. Ayres is still behind bars on a $200,000 bond.

David Lawton

Lakeville man charged for murder in suspected love triangle

August 20, 2009

28-year-old Arden Balmer is formally charged for murder and criminal confinement. Court documents reveal Balmer asked his ex-girlfriend and a friend to meet at his house where the shooting and stand-off happened.

The investigation continues into a homicide in rural St. Joseph County.

28-year-old Arden Balmer Jr. of Lakeville is now being charged with murder and criminal confinement. Balmer is accused of shooting his friend and holding his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint.

According to court documents, Balmer confronted his ex-girlfriend and the man Balmer thought was her new boyfriend at his parent's house in Lakeville.

Police were called out just before noon by Alexandra Stahly, Balmer's ex-girlfriend.

Stahly told police Balmer called her asking her to come over. When she arrived she saw David Lawton there as well.

Balmer allegedly took Stahly and David Lawton out to the back yard.

Court documents say Balmer accused Lawton of "taking her away from me." He then pulled out a handgun and shot Lawton multiple times. Stahly said Balmer believed Lawton and Stahly were seeing each other, but they were not.

Neighbors in the area heard the shots.

“It didn't dawn on me until last night on the news that that is what I heard. It was probably the pingin'. It was probably the gunshots because it was like a rapid fire noise,” says neighbor Douglas Sweeney.

Balmer fled the area but came back to his house to hide where a 3 hour stand-off started.

It ended when he was shot in the shoulder by police. Police say a number of weapons were taken from the home including a handgun that had been fired at least 6 times.

The parents were not home when the shooting happened.

Aaron Pierce Blum

Police label truck shooting a murder

August 6, 2009

Porter County police are calling the shooting that injured 67-year-old James Blum and killed his 32-year-old son, Aaron Blum, a murder.

Police, in court documents seeking a search warrant for the pickup truck in which the two men were found, labeled the incident a murder and said the gunshot that killed the son and injured the father came from within the truck. Police repeatedly have said the Blums were the only two people involved in the shooting.  James Blum, however, has not been charged with murder and has not been named a suspect.

Police said the Blums were together in the father's pickup truck after leaving their Morgan Township home at 2 p.m. Sunday. The father and son were discovered in the truck by a passer-by at 10:15 a.m. Monday on County Road 575 East, north of U.S. 30, in Washington Township.

According to court documents, police and Porter County Coroner Vicki Deppe said it appeared Aaron Blum had been dead for a number of hours. James Blum -- who police say shot himself in the chest -- was taken to Porter Valparaiso Hospital Campus for treatment. He is expected to survive.

Police said they spoke briefly to Blum at the hospital, who said he and his son were arguing when Aaron Blum threw coffee on his father. Blum told police he admitted firing the weapon he kept in the door of his truck, but he was taken away for treatment before officers could further question him, police said.

Police said the gun was found in the truck.  Portage attorney John Vouga, who is representing the Blum family, questioned the decision by police to interview James Blum while he was under the influence of medication and being treated for a serious gunshot wound at the hospital.

"I'm concerned as the family attorney that any law enforcement personnel would question a seriously injured man, who is going in for surgery," he said.

Vouga said it is not clear whether police made Blum aware of his rights before questioning him.

The Blum family said James Blum is an outstanding and highly respected member of the community, Vouga said.  The family plans to cooperate with police, through their attorney, once the funeral is over for Aaron Blum.

Vouga said the family still was investigating what happened and could not yet offer an explanation for the shooting.  Police had been looking for the Blums when the passer-by spotted James Blum slumped over the wheel of his truck.

James Blum's wife told police she saw the truck leaving at 2 p.m. Sunday, and when her husband and son failed to return, she reported them missing at 11 p.m. Sunday.


June 22, 2010

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) - A northwestern Indiana man has pleaded guilty to charges that he fatally shot his 32-year-old son while they argued inside a pickup truck.

Sixty-nine-year-old James Blum of rural Valparaiso had faced murder charges in the August 2009 death of Aaron Blum. He occasionally cried during a Porter County court hearing Tuesday as he pleaded guilty to a reckless homicide charge.

The Post-Tribune reports Aaron Blum had recently been arrested for drunken driving and that James Blum told police an argument broke out as they discussed the younger man's future. Blum told police his son lunged for the handgun in the driver's door and it went off during a scuffle.  The Times reports a deputy prosecutor says Blum then drove to a hospital but left without seeking help for his son.


Aaron Pierce Blum, 32, of Valparaiso, passed away Monday, August 3, 2009. He was born November 2, 1976 in Valparaiso to A. James and Bette (Pierce) Blum. Aaron is survived by his parents of Valparaiso, his brother Matthew A. Blum, sister-in-law, Trisha Pozil-Blum of Valparaiso, IN, and also his nephews Tresten and Damian Pozil. Aaron's passion included his love for painting and the theatre. He will be remembered by his family and friends for his laughter and sense of humor that he infused into our lives. Aaron was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso. Private family services will be held. The final resting place of Aaron will be in St. John's Cemetery in Wanatah. Memorial contributions can be made to the Immanuel Lutheran Church Food Pantry at 1700 Monticello Dr. in Valparaiso, IN 46383. Bartholomew Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements.

Shannon Michael Lowe

Shannon Michael Lowe

Victims in Grant Co. murders were not having affair

Aug 10, 2009

Swayzee - Police say a man who was murdered last week by a disgruntled husband was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Investigators believe the double murder-suicide in Grant County may have stemmed from a misunderstanding.

Detectives say William McKinney, 46, feared that his 40-year-old wife, Heidi, was having an affair after the couple recently separated. McKinney shot and killed his estranged wife and her friend, 30-year-old Shannon Lowe at a home in Swayzee Friday, before turning the gun on himself.

Heidi McKinney stayed with a female friend at the house on Thursday to get away from her marital problems, police say. Investigators say William McKinney had been spying on his wife, following her to the house.

Investigators say that Lowe came to the Swayzee home the next day to help his friend, Heidi. Both were having marriage troubles and were sharing coffee on a patio when they were confronted by William McKinney, who was carrying a gun.

Police say they have no reason to believe that Lowe, who worked with children in his job with a residential and family services group, was romantically involved with Heidi McKinney, who was a hair stylist at a Marion salon.

"From what we're told, he was trying to help her out through this crisis. He was having marital problems of his own and was reaching out to someone in the same position he was," said Det. Tim Holtzleiter, Grant Co. Sheriff's Department.

Investigators say an angry William McKinney had it wrong when he parked his car nearby, walked up the block and confronted the two, shooting them in a jealous rage before killing himself.

See post for dear friend Heidi McKinney here.

Heidi M. McKinney

Heidi McKinney

Three dead in apparent murder-suicide at Grant County home

Aug 07, 2009 5:28 PM EDT 

Grant County - Police say three people died in an apparent double murder-suicide at a central Indiana home.

Police officers were called to the home in the Grant County town of Swayzee about 7:00 am Friday. Investigators say a man shot his wife and another man at the home before shooting himself.

The Grant County Coroner's Office identified the victims as Heidi M. McKinney, 40, and her husband William T. McKinney, 46. They were found dead at the scene. Shannon Michael Lowe, 30, was still breathing when officers arrived at the scene, but he later died.

Police believe William McKinney shot his wife and Lowe, then shot himself. However, detectives are still searching for fingerprints and other evidence to confirm that theory.

A statement from the Grant County Sheriff's Department says the homeowner who heard the shots witnessed McKinney shoot himself.

Lewis Joyner was walking nearby when he heard shots. "I heard it go bang, then it's like a bang, bang, bang. And I told my wife that sounded to me like gunshots."

None of the deceased lived at the home, police said. Police say the McKinneys lived in Marion but that Heidi McKinney had spent the night at the home in Swayzee. It's unclear where the male victim lived, and his relationship to Heidi McKinney.

According to reports, the McKinneys were separated.

Neighbors in the small town near Marion were startled by the early morning murders.

"My dog was alerted first and he was doing a lot of barking and letting us know that something was going on outside and when we came downstairs, there were probably about eight or nine squad cars," said April Hamilton, neighbor.

"Nothing like...anything like this happens, ever. It was very shocking to hear," said Chelsie Cahue.

See post for dear friend Shannon Michael Lowe here.

Jeremiah Williams

Jeremiah Williams

Child Shot at East Side Apartment Dies

July 24, 2009

Indianapolis - City leaders are expressing shock and outrage over the shooting death of an eight-year-old boy. A teenager was also wounded in the shooting incident at the Hearts Landing Apartments Wednesday night, and an Indianapolis man is facing charges.

Metro homicide detectives believe the suspect came to a home in the 4300 block of Wittfield to settle differences with the teenager that was shot, but ended up fatally hitting the eight-year-old.

Deputy Chief Bill Benjamin immediately organized officers from the violent crimes unit to find the shooter. After a brief search, they arrested 27-year-old Joshua Germany. The arrest took place in the 10700 block of East 42nd Street around 11:00 pm, a few hours after the shootings and about a mile and a half away from the crime scene.

Police say Germany fired shots into a home on Wittfield Street. Bullets struck both Namar Taylor, 18, and Jeremiah Williams, 8, in the head. Taylor is in stable condition, but Jeremiah died from his injuries early Thursday morning. Several other children were also in the home at the time of the shooting, along with the boy's mother, but no one else was injured.

The shooting outraged community leaders, who were relieved police were able to track down Joshua Germany but vowed to stop the violence.

"We are livid. We are outraged. When you beat up and shoot at our babies and deal with our seniors we are going to do something about it. We are upset to the tenth degree. We will do something about it. Write it down. We will do something about this," said Lionel Rush, community leader.

Jeremiah Williams' front porch is full of teddy bears, flowers and prayers. Young Men Incorporated summer camp boys are among those who left flowers.

"There is no reason that a kid should lose his life about somebody making bad choices," said Byron Alston, community leader.

Metro police arrested Joshua Germany on preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder. Officers took him to Wishard Hospital Wednesday night to be treated for bites from a police K-9.

Police say Germany was wanted on a domestic violence warrant issued earlier in the day involving the 8-year-old's mother. According to police, Germany is believed to have a child with the mother, but the child is not the shooting victim.

On top of the arrest of the man who police believe responsible for this shooting, even officers say it will take more than arrests to stop the violence.

"We make arrests all day long but that is not the only answer. We need more than that," said Commander Becky Lake, IMPD.

"This is about your life. This is life and death for you and your children and if you can, make that call to get out," said Julie Marsh, Domestic Violence Network.

During Eyewitness News' investigation into the suspect Joshua Germany, we learned this is not the first he's been in trouble for shooting a gun at this address. Police believe in 2007 he fired several shots into the air. No one got hurt then, but this time the gunfire claimed the life of a young child.

Denise A. Barrone

Denise A. Barrone

Teen pleads not guilty in killing

He's charged in June 27 stabbing death of his aunt.

July 8, 2009

A 17-year-old boy entered a preliminary plea of not guilty Tuesday after being charged with murder in the stabbing death of his aunt last month.

Aaron Lloyd Randolph, of the 3000 block of Schele Avenue, is accused of killing Denise A. Barrone, 48, his mother's twin sister, after a fishing trip June 27.

Allen Superior Court documents say Randolph had thoughts of killing and had been planning to kill his aunt for some time. Once he and his aunt returned to her house at 334 Dalgren Ave. after fishing, he acted on his plan, according to the probable-cause affidavit.

He pulled out a knife and stabbed Barrone while she was in her bedroom, the affidavit said. When she tried to escape by breaking out the window in the front door, he pulled her back in and continued to stab her. He then punched and kicked her several times, and grabbed a large sword and struck her numerous times on the back of the head and neck, the affidavit said.

Her death was ruled the city's 13th homicide.

Randolph is being held without bond. His next court appearance is 8:30 a.m. July 21 to set his trial date. Conviction on a murder charge brings a minimum 45-year sentence, according to the Indiana Code. Randolph is considered an adult because anyone over age 16 charged with murder faces an automatic upgrade for the charge.

Case status: Barrone’s 17-year-old nephew, Aaron Lloyd Randolph, was charged as an adult with murder. Police said the teenager was upset because his aunt had yelled at him. The two had gone fishing at Franke Park the same day. Randolph told police he “had been planning to kill his aunt for some time.” A trial date for Randolph has not been set.


Denise Ann Barrone, 48, passed away Sunday, June 28, 2009 at her home in Fort Wayne.

Born in Fort Wayne, she worked as a nurse with Riverbend Healthcare and Lifecare Center for 11 years. She was a member of Broadway Christian Church and a U.S. Army Desert Storm veteran.

She is survived by her sisters, Diane (Jack) Randolph, and Linda O'Hair both of Fort Wayne; nieces, Jennifer (Jon) Schie, and Melissa Stockman both of Fort Wayne; nephews, Aaron Randolph, and D.J. O'Hair both of Fort Wayne. Denise was preceded in death by her parents, Ronald and Dorothy Barrone.

Funeral service is 2 p.m. Monday at D.O. McComb and Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Ave. Calling from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.  Memorials may be made to the Christian Children's Fund or ASPCA.

Terra Haselberger

Hammond Couple Found Killed in Apparent Murder-Suicide

June 26, 2009

HAMMOND | A young man and woman were found dead in their rented house on a quiet Woodmar street Thursday afternoon in what police described as an apparent murder-suicide.

Investigators said Terra Haselberger, 22, suffered gunshot wounds to her neck and face, and Jeremy Fields, 31, was found with a single gunshot wound to his head at 6930 Chesapeake Place shortly before 4 p.m.

A large-caliber pistol lay on the floor near Fields' body, detectives said.

Neighbors reported an older sister of Haselberger, who has lived with couple in the home for the past two years, found them after Haselberger failed to return to her job as a receptionist at a nearby chiropractic clinic after lunch, police said.

Family members who gathered at the scene along the Erie-Lackawanna bike trail across from Elmwood Cemetery at 169th Street declined to talk about Haselberger, who grew up in Dyer, or Fields, who was from Valparaiso, except to say that he was unhappy with his recent inability to find work.

Neighbors said Haselberger also worked at a part-time job at a Hobart restaurant to make ends meet. But there were signs of trouble between the couple, they said.

Police were called to the couple's home on a domestic disturbance report on New Year's Eve, when neighbors said Fields chased Haselberger down the street firing a pistol.

Haselberger sought refuge at a neighbor's house, but then declined to tell the responding officers who was threatening her and they left on another call, said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified by name.

"I spend all my time with my boyfriend, who I love more than anything in this entire world," Haselberger recently wrote on her MySpace page, which featured photos of the couple with new tattoos of each other's names. "And pretty soon I will be his wifey!!!"

"And I also have an amazing family," she wrote.


TERRA L. HASELBERGER HAMMOND/ FORMERLY OF DYER, IN Terra L. Haselberger, passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2009. She is survived by mother, Brenda Haselberger; one brother, Matthew Haselberger; two sisters: Rachel and Nicole Haselberger; grandparents; Lorraine Kraatz and Charles (Nadine) Haselberger; many aunts, uncles and cousins; one nephew, Nathan Daniel Haselberger; preceded in death by her father, Daniel in 2001; and grandfather, Roger B. Kraatz Sr. in 2007. Funeral services will be Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. at the Fagen-Miller Funeral Home, 1920 Hart St. Dyer, IN. Interment Memory Lanes Cemetery in Schererville, IN. Relatives and friends may meet with the family on Monday, June 29, 2009 from 3:00-8:00 p.m. Terra was an employee of Hofferth, Family Chiropractic, where she served as an Office Manager. She enjoyed summer, going to the beach, helping others, whether young or old, her smile made you feel loved and welcomed. Her vibrant personality, contagious laugh, love of her family will be forever missed and cherished. Our lives will never be the same due to this tragic loss. Terra graduated in 2004 from Lake Central High School. Donations to the family would be appreciated

Cassandra Isom

Cassandra Isom

Three Dead After Standoff In "Non-Violent City"

August 7, 2007

Gary, Indiana police say a standoff at an apartment complex ended overnight with a woman and two teenagers dead and a suspect in custody.

The standoff and deadly shootings took place overnight in Gary's Lakeshore Dunes apartment complex. A neighbor dialed 9-1-1 to report shots fired while a police officer was following-up outside the apartment building more shots came from inside and so began a three-and-a-half hour stand-off.

But Gary's police chief said Tuesday that he believes the suspect killed his family before the stand-off started.

Shattered glass and broken hearts outside a Gary apartment complex where police believe a man took the lives of a mother and her two children. A neighbor told police the last words he heard uttered inside.

"He heard a small child scream 'Daddy don't do that, daddy don't do that!" He then heard another shot," said Gary Police Sergeant Tom DeCanter.

The victims are identified as 40 year old Cassandra Isom, her 17-year-old son Michael Moore and 13-year-old daughter Ciandre Cole.

Their relatives released a statement saying "Cassandra Isom was an excellent mother, a kind a generous person. She loved people, her family and friends."

The suspect is a 41-year-old out-of-work security guard. The victims' relatives said they're aware of no signs that trouble was brewing in the household. But just after 10 o'clock Monday night neighbors report hearing several shots fired.

"A lot of gunfire, it sounds like fireworks," said neighbor Dave Caster. "I stepped out and it was crazy. It sounded like you were in Vietnam."

The first police officer on the scene called for back-up then helped evacuate another family. SWAT officers surrounded the building but not before they say the suspect fired several shots in their direction. For more than three hours, police waited.

"We weren't aware of the complete situation and didn't want to risk firing until we knew what was going on," said DeCanter.

Gary police said they believe the suspect killed the woman and children before the stand-off started. It ended when police fired tear gas into the home. They went in and found the mother and her children in the living room. Police tasered the suspect in a back bedroom and they said several weapons were at his side.

Gary's mayor said the type of violence that claimed this family has infected communities across the country.

"The majority of our murders are not gangs and thugs they are domestic like last night's. That's why I continue to say Gary is not a violent city," said Gary Mayor Rudy Clay.

See posts for her dear children Michael Moore and Ci'Andria Cole.

Michael Moore

Death Penalty Trial: Jury Selection Begins For Kevin Isom in 2008 Indiana Murders of 3 Family Members

October 15, 2010

Prosecutors in Lake County, Ind., will seek the death penalty against a man accused of killing his family last summer.

Prosecutors say Kevin Isom shot his wife and her daughter and son inside the family's apartment in Gary on August 7, 2007. He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 40-year-old Cassandra Isom, 17-year-old Michael Moore and 13-year-old Ci'Andria Cole.

According to a court affidavit, Isom allegedly told investigators that he shot his family because his wife was going to leave him. He also said she had been supporting the family on her own and that he had not been working.

Now Isom also faces four attempted murder charges for allegedly shooting at police officers who had responded to a hostage situation at the Lake Shore Dunes complex, where Isom allegedly killed his wife and stepchildren.

"Every death is traumatic to a police officer, but the death of children perhaps hit them more. For the officers who came under fire, it brings home the danger they face," said Gary Police Cmdr. Sam Roberts.

"We have to send a message to the public that we cannot allow anyone to harm our officers," added Gary Police Det. James Bond.

Isom is currently being held at the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Ind.

See posts for her dear mother Cassandra Isom and sister Ci'Andria Cole.

Ci'Andria Cole

Stepfather Ignored Girl's Plea

August 8, 2007

A former security guard ignored the cries of his 13-year-old stepdaughter late Monday night and shot his family to death in their small Miller apartment, police say. For three hours, a man identified by police sources as Kevin Isom, 41, kept the city's SWAT team at bay outside his Lakeshore Dunes apartment building while a negotiator repeatedly tried to reach him on a phone.

When police finally charged into the residence, they found Isom's wife, 40-year-old Cassandra Isom, and her children, 16-year-old Michael Moore and 13-year-old Ci'Andria Cole, dead on the floor.

Authorities allege Isom killed his family after his wife threatened to leave him because he was not working and she was paying all the bills.

Attorneys seek delay in Lake County's lone death penalty trial

Lake County public defenders Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey are asking for more time to prepare the county's only death penalty case.

In reporting their progress to the court Friday, Shaps told Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. four more months are not adequate to meet the current trial date of May 2, 2011.

The public defender's office was ordered in November to take over representing murder defendant Kevin Isom, 45.

Isom is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, at the family's Lakeshore Dunes Apartments in Miller.

Stefaniak had ordered the public defender's office to take over Isom's defense after Isom sought to replace the law firm of Thiros & Stracci in the wake of the death of trial lawyer Nick Thiros in October.

At the time, Stefaniak told Isom the chances of obtaining a refund from the Thiros firm and finding a new private lawyer to take on a death penalty case were minimal and declared Isom indigent.

Stefaniak said he thought it necessary to move the case forward in the interest of the victims' family.

Stefaniak on Friday took the question of continuing the trial under advisement until a hearing Feb. 25, 2011 when the public defenders also are expected to report on other trial issues.

See posts for her dear mother Cassandra Isom and brother Michael Moore.

Ana L. Casas

Man kills wife, 3 kids after argument over chores

Police say the couple's three daughters -- ages 10, 4 and 20 months -- were strangled

December 15, 2005

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (AP) -- A man accused of killing his family told police he beat and strangled his wife and killed their three young daughters after the couple argued about household chores, according to court documents.

Police found Simon Rios, 33, on the front porch of his home after getting a suicide call early Tuesday. Inside, they discovered blood in the living room and Rios' wife and their three children dead in a bedroom.

Rios pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four preliminary counts of murder and two counts of moving a body. He was jailed without bond.

Autopsies showed the girls -- ages 10, 4 and 20 months -- had all been strangled. Their mother, identified as Ana L. Casas, died of a blow to the head and strangulation, the coroner said.

Rios told police he and his wife argued after she arrived home from work about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to a probable cause affidavit. He said he hit her with a steel pipe, then strangled her with an extension cord, the affidavit states.

He then strangled one of the girls with his hands and used an extension cord to kill the other girls, according to the affidavit.

Neighbor Nancy Gater said Simon Rios worked at a factory but had lost his job this year.

The bodies were found a day after authorities searched the neighborhood for clues to the disappearance of a 10-year-old girl. Police spokesman Mike Joyner said that police did not find a connection between the cases when they questioned Rios, but that he is a possible suspect.

Rios had a previous conviction in Allen County for misdemeanor domestic battery in 2003, but friends said they had seen no signs of trouble in the family.

Michael Guzman, who described Rios as a friend, said he had never heard Rios raise his voice to his children or speak ill of his wife.

"Everybody who knows him loves the guy," he said.

See posts on her dear children Liliana K. Rios Casas, Katherinne G. Rios and Thannya Karolinna Rios.

Liliana K. Rios Casas

Liliana K. Rios Casas

Indiana Man Held in Death of Wife, Kids

December 14, 2005

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A man found standing on the front porch of his home faces murder charges for allegedly killing his wife and three daughters -- at least two of whom were found strangled inside the family's home.

Simon Rios, 33, was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on four counts of murder and two preliminary counts of moving a body. He was being held without bond in the Allen County Jail.

Allen County Coroner E. Jon Brandenberger said an autopsy found that Rios' wife, Ana L. Casas, 28, had died from blunt force trauma to the head and strangulation. One of the couple's three daughters, Katherinne G. Rios, 4, had been strangled, he said.

Autopsies on the two other victims, Liliana K. Rios Casas, 10, and Thannya Karolinna Rios, 20 months, were expected to be performed Wednesday.

Fort Wayne police spokeswoman Robin Thompson said Simon Rios is accused of killing the four following an argument that she said was detailed in a probable cause affidavit.

Officers found the bodies inside the home early Tuesday after being called to the house to investigate reported suicide threats.

Neighbor Nancy Gater said Simon Rios worked at a factory but had lost his job this year and spent some time in Mexico. She said the family had moved to the house about four years ago.

The discovery of the bodies came a day after police and the FBI searched homes in the south side neighborhood for clues about 10-year-old Alejandra Gutierrez, who disappeared Thursday on her way to a nearby school bus stop.

Thompson said police did not believe the cases were related.

Hundreds of Hispanic residents flocked to St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Tuesday night to hold a prayer vigil for the four victims.

"God wishes little children to grow up, become teenagers and adults," said Bishop John D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese as the Rev. Jack Overmyer, St. Patrick's pastor, translated his comments into Spanish.

"We mourn for these little children and their mom, and we pray they're in the hands of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and we ask God to protect our families," D'Arcy said.

Adolfo Puebla, who said he is the godfather of the youngest girl, said Rios and his family attended a birthday party Puebla and his wife hosted Saturday. They left laughing and with no signs of trouble, he said.

Puebla said his children often played with the three girls.

"We are shocked," Puebla said. "It's really hard for me and for my wife. I don't know how I can describe it."

See posts on dear mother Ana L. Casas and sisters Katherinne G. Rios and Thannya Karolinna Rios.

Katherinne G. Rios

Katherinne G. Rios

Indiana Man Murders Wife and Kids after Arguing About Housework

By Buzzle Staff and Agencies
Published: 12/15/2005

About 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, police received a suicide call from the south side of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Arriving at the scene, officers found Simon Rios, 33, on the front porch of his home. Inside, they discovered a puddle of blood on the living room floor. Fearing the worst, police searched the rest of the house and found Rios’ wife, Ana Casas, 28, and their three children lying dead in a bedroom.

Rios told police that after he got home from work about 1:30 a.m., his wife had started arguing with him about doing chores around the house. Rios got angry, grabbed a steel pipe, and hit his wife in the head with it. Then he grabbed an extension cord and strangled her with it. He then grabbed his 20-month old baby daughter Thannya Karolinna and strangled her with his bare hands. He used the extension cord to strangle his other two daughters, 4-year old Katherinne and 10-year old Liliana. After killing his family, Rios carried the bodies of his children into the bedroom and placed them on the bed. He then dragged his wife’s body into the bedroom.

Just one day earlier to their grisly discovery of the murders, police and the FBI had searched homes in Rios’ neighborhood for clues about the disappearance of 10-year old Alejandra Gutierrez, who had disappeared a few days earlier on her way to a school bus stop nearby. So far police have not found a connection between the two cases, but because of Rios killing his family, they will now consider him a suspect in Gutierrez’s disappearance.

Friends and acquaintances are shocked and saddened by the murders and say that saw no signs of trouble in the family before the killings. Nancy Gater, a neighbor of the Rios family, said that the family had moved into the house about four years ago. When Simon lost his job earlier this year, he went down to Mexico for a while. Adolfo Puebla, the godfather of Rios’ youngest daughter, said that the Rios family had attended a birthday party he and his wife hosted Saturday. According to Puebla, the Rios family left happy and laughing. Michael Guzman, who calls Rios a great friend, said that he had never heard Rios even raise his voice to his children, and he had never had anything bad to say about his wife. "Everybody who knows him loves the guy," Guzman said.

According to court records, Rios was convicted in 2003 of a misdemeanor battery charge, but it is not clear who the victim of that assault was. The court at that time ordered Rios to stay away from the victim, but that order was lifted in July 2003. In court Wednesday Rios pleaded not guilty to four preliminary counts of murder and two counts of moving a body. Prosecutors have not indicated that they will seek the death penalty.

See posts on dear mother Ana L. Casas and sisters Liliana K. Rios Casas and Thannya Karolinna Rios.

Thannya Karolinna Rios

Thannya Karolinna Rios

Four Life Terms Provide Finality in Rios Case

Killer breaks silence with tearful apology

Rebecca S. Green | The Journal Gazette
October 7, 2007

Simon Rios wept openly as he confessed a “deep sorrow in his heart” for murdering his wife and three young daughters in December 2005.

Before Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull sentenced Rios to four consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole, Rios told his wife's family, who had come from Mexico for the hearing, he found the love of God in jail.

“I'm sorry,” he said through an interpreter. “I am very sorry. The only thing that keeps me upright is the hope to be with the ones I love the most in my life.”

Standing next to his attorney, Rios' shoulders occasionally shuddered with sobs. His statements, to the grief-stricken family of his murdered wife, his dead daughters' grandparents, an immigrant community and a city, came after nearly two years of waiting - and the courtroom seemed charged with a tense sorrow.

Family members who traveled from Mexico, police officers who handled the case, victims' advocates who helped others cope with grief all filled the rows of seating. They listened to Rios speak, his words translated into English by three interpreters - one sitting next to him and two sitting amid the family and friends.

But the 35-year-old Mexican national's impassioned apology, which moved many in the courtroom to tears, did nothing to change the mind-set of Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards, who looked toward the weeping Rios and consigned his soul to hell.

“You will not be seeing your daughters in heaven again,” Richards said. “You will be joining the devil in hell the day you die.”

Richards recounted for the court the scene she found in the early morning hours of Dec. 13, 2005, after being called by police to Rios' South Calhoun Street home. She described the permanent memories of seeing Ana Casas-Rios, 28, and their three daughters, Liliana, 10; Katherinne, 4; and Thannya, 20 months, dead inside their home.

Having served in the prosecutor's office for nearly 27 years, Richards said she had hoped she had seen everything.

“But I had not,” she said, her own voice quaking with emotion. “I will never forget that until the day I die. … We reserve the death penalty for the most horrible crimes and the most horrible people. This is that crime and that is that man.”

Rios pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to four counts of murder and two counts of moving a body from a violent or suspicious death. He has already been sentenced in Delaware County to a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 100 years, for the rape, child molesting and murder of 10-year-old Alejandra Gutierrez.

Alejandra was a classmate of Rios' daughter, and on the morning of Dec. 8, 2005, Rios abducted Alejandra from her south-side bus stopand drove her to rural Delaware County where he sexually assaulted and killed her.

He confessed to her murder and drew a map to her body - frozen in the snow at a gravel pit - after police arrested him in connection with the deaths of his family members just five days after he took the girl.

Up until the Aug. 31 hearing, Richards sought the death penalty against Rios, dropping it in exchange for his guilty pleas.

That decision, Richards said, came only because Ana Casas-Rios' deeply religious family did not want Rios executed.

And she wanted Rios to understand, without a doubt, that had it been up to her, his sentence would be different.

“You, more than anyone I have ever met, deserved to die,” Richards said.

Richards found it ironic that Rios' life was spared by the very people from whom he took so much. And she openly wrestled with the idea that he would receive treatment while in prison for his depression - a sadness she said was brought on by his own actions - while the family would likely receive little, if any support, when they return to Mexico.

She then turned to the translators interpreting the hearing for the Casas family and asked them to stop translating before she described in great intensity and detail, the last few minutes of his children's lives. Addressing Rios, she peppered him with questions about what his children might have seen or felt as he strangled each one.

“You were their father,” she said.

Richards' wish for Rios was for him to close his eyes, see what he did and be haunted by it.

Her statements stood in contrast to those offered by Rios' court-appointed attorney, Michelle Kraus.

Also struggling to contain her emotion, Kraus spoke of Rios' childhood poverty in rural Mexico, his deep sense of remorse and his new-found faith - bringing the Rev. Paul Bueter to testify for Rios. Bueter, the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church in Warsaw, has counseled Rios in jail.

“Simon's life is worth saving,” Kraus said. “He did a horrible and inexplicable thing. When a parent takes the life of a child, we have to know something went wrong.”

Having traveled from Mexico to be present at the hearing, Ana Casas-Rios' brother, Marcos, said nothing could justify Rios' actions, which not only killed his family, but also damaged many lives around him and in the community at large.

As he walked back to his seat, he broke down and wept.

Also speaking on behalf of the victims was Adolfo Puebla, a family friend and godfather of Thannya. Speaking at times directly to Rios in Spanish, Puebla said he loved Rios' daughter as his own but never saw the person Rios truly was.

Before Gull passed sentence, Rios offered one last statement through an interpreter, one last tearful apology, this one to the community that he said welcomed him with open arms.

“I saw an opportunity (in Fort Wayne) and a way to fulfill my dream,” he said. “But I allowed the forces of evil to take over. I will always regret it.”

Kraus held his hand as Gull sentenced him to a lifetime in prison for the murders and to six years in prison for moving the bodies from the scene.

After the hearing, Kraus said she wanted to offer Rios support, particularly because his own family, who had tried unsuccessfully to make it from Mexico for the hearing, was not present.

Rios had always wanted to take responsibility for his actions, from the moment of his arrest, and had even wanted to plead guilty, even when the death penalty was still on the table, Kraus said.

Monday's hearing allowed him to take that responsibility, she said.

“I believe in forgiveness,” she said. “I believe in God's forgiveness. He wants to live in a way that asks for forgiveness. If he continues to seek forgiveness and repentance, I believe God will forgive.”

Later Monday, at a news conference in her office alongside Chief Criminal Prosecutor Steven Godfrey, Richards said the plea agreement offered the Casas family something the death penalty could not - finality.

As part of his plea agreement, Rios waived all rights to appeal his sentence.

“With this, at least, it's over,” she said.


Mass Murderer Simon Rios Dies In An Indiana Prison

The News-Sentinel
By Jeff Neumeyer

FORT WAYNE, Indiana - Mass murderer Simon Rios dies in an Indiana prison, marking the end of a story that brought terrible pain and suffering to the Fort Wayne community.

Rios was found hanging after 12-30 a.m. Thursday in his cell at the Pendleton Reformatory.  There were indications the torment he caused others, became a burden too great to bear.  Attempts to revive Simon Rios failed, and he was pronounced dead before 1-30 a.m. at the Pendleton Correctional Facility.

Prison officials say there were no signs of foul play, and in fact, he left behind a suicide note.  His lawyer says he'd been beaten up before in general population.  Michelle Kraus/Rios' Lawyer: " He got sent back to segregation, segregation was very lonely for him, and the note would indicate that he was very lonely.  His demons just got the best of him."

Karen Richards/(R) Allen County Prosecutor:  " I think it's very mistaken at this point in time to, in any way, view Mr. Rios as the victim here."  Rios abducted, raped and murdered 10-year old Alejandra Gutierrez in December 2005.  Five days later, he killed his wife, and three young daughters in their Fort Wayne home.  Neumeyer: " Rios himself summoned police to the scene, he was waiting on the front porch when police got there. The crimes had a tremendous impact on the Hispanic community."

See posts on dear mother Ana L. Casas and sisters Liliana K. Rios Casas and Katherinne G. Rios.