Tag Archives: Lake County Prosecutor

Griffith Police Arrest Subject, Credit Vigilant Citizens for Helping

19 Dec interstate 80 94 accident

Gazette Staff

At approximately 12:15 pm on December 16, 2013, the Griffith Police were notified by a resident that a subject in a green compact car had approached her residence and rang her doorbell continuously. The resident, having just exited the shower, did not immediately answer the door and instead yelled to the subject that she would come to the door shortly. After making this statement, the subject quickly returned to the green car and left the area.

Griffith Sergeant Todd Dawes responded to the area of the complainant’s home and, in the area of the 900 block of Wheeler, located a green compact car parked in a driveway, running and occupied by two men. Sergeant Dawes made contact with the two men who advised that they were present at the residence to visit a friend. Despite their claims, Sergeant Dawes noted that the men appeared to be nervous and that their car had a large screen TV, a gaming system and a jewelry box in the back seat. Additional officers were summoned to the scene and the two men, identified as David Woods (19 YOA) of Gary and Shane Parks (19 YOA) of Chesterton, were detained. Further investigation at the scene revealed that forced entry had been made to the home and that a burglary had taken place. A subsequent warranted search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of all property taken from the Griffith residence as well as additional property that will likely be associated with other burglaries that have occurred recently in neighboring towns.

Both Woods and Parks provided statements to Detective Schoon regarding their involvement in this burglary.

On December 18, 2013, the Office of the Lake County Prosecutor charged David Woods and Shane Parks with Class B Felonies for Burglary. If convicted, Woods and Parks face 6 to 20 years in prison.

Chief Mance stated that, “Arrest like this show that the citizens of Griffith and the Griffith Police Department are working in unison to send a strong message that crime will not be tolerated in our community.”

Meth lab found in Lake station

11 Dec

On December 11, 2013, at approximately 1:45 a.m., Lake Station Police Department obtained a search warrant for a residence in the 3300 block of Arizona Street, Lake Station, Indiana, in conjunction to a narcotic investigation. With the assistance of the Northwest Regional SWAT Unit and Lake Station SWAT Unit, the warrant was executed and five individuals were taken into custody. During a multi-month investigation, Lake Station officers conducted several undercover (controlled) purchases of methamphetamine “Meth” from the residence. Lake Station narcotic officers started working with investigators from DEA and Jasper County Sheriff’s Department. Officers obtained evidence that the subjects were “cooking” the product inside the house, which is located in a residential area of the city. During the investigation, officers discovered that the subjects were responsible for supplying methamphetamine to several other communities in Indiana as far away as Newton County and Jasper County.
During a search of the residence, officers confirmed the residence was being used as a “Meth Lab” and recovered evidence indicating that several batches of Meth had been “cooked” in the residence. Among the items that were confiscated were methamphetamine and several electronic devices. Lake Station Narcotic Officers plan on presenting their case to the Lake County Prosecutor’s office Thursday afternoon.
As always we encourage anyone with information about
someone selling or manufacturing narcotics
in the community to contact :
the Lake Station Police Department at 219-962-1186.
Kevin Garber Sr.
Chief of Police
Lake Station Police Department

Surprise, Van Til Now Admits Guilt

2 Dec George Van Til statement proclaiming his innocence.

by Ken Davidson

“The truth is irrelevant to him.”  That is a quote which the Times of Northwest Indiana attributed to George Van Til while he was lying to all of us about stealing from us.    Of course, Van Til was referring to his challenger and not to himself.  Today he finally admitted that he is a thief and a liar.  The only surprise was the timing of the announcement.  The only question that remains to me is whether or not he will part with some of his purported information in order to save his own skin.  No matter what happens, Van Til is not likely to spend significant time in prison.  Although his conviction carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, it appears that he may do as little as ten months behind bars.

Van Til will officially enter a plea to Six Counts of Wire Fraud.  That is six counts of stealing from the people of Lake County, Indiana.  In short, Van Til will admit that he used employees who were being paid by the taxpayers for his personal campaign.  The Plea Agreement, signed by Van Til states:

I did knowingly and intentionally request and direct some employees of the Lake
County Surveyor’s Office to engage in political campaign work while they were
being paid with Lake County governmental funds. Furthermore, I knew that while
doing this campaign work at the Lake County Surveyor’s Office, these employees
were using Lake County property and equipment to engage in political activity.

The maximum penalty that can be imposed is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Van Til is not expected to receive anywhere near that amount of time.  The agreement  calls for the Assistant United States Attorney involved to argue for the minimum sentence under federal guidelines.  The Sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 10-24 months*.   Thus, Van Til is likely to receive a ten month sentence pursuant to the plea agreement.   The agreement specifically allows for Van Til to ask for home detention or some other means.  The Agreement makes clear the Government will oppose any such request:

Although the defendant is free to argue that the sentence imposed (guideline or non-guideline) be satisfied by any means available under the sentencing guidelines, or 18 USC 3553, under no circumstances will the government make any recommendation for a term of probation, home detention, or community confinement and will oppose any request for a non-guideline and non-incarceration sentence.

The major difference in the 24 month sentence and the ten months he is likely to receive, involves the reduction in sentence for “acceptance of responsibility.”  The difference between a plea and a trial in this matter is about 41 months because the Obstruction of Justice charge is a level 14 base offense under Guidelines.  As stated below, the wire fraud charge is a level 7 base offense.

Van Til becomes the 84th Lake County democrat to plead guilty to federal charges.  None has ever been charged or convicted by Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter.

*Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Wire Fraud:

Base Offense Level:   7 (0-6 mo sentence)

Enhancements in this case:  8 points

Credits in this case: 2 points

Total Points for sentencing:   13, guideline sentence:  12-18 months

The Plea Agreement calls for an additional one point reduction in sentencing provided Van Til cooperates with Government officials.  That would reduce the sentence from 12 months to 10 months.

 

 

 

Charges Filed in Hobart Murder

22 Oct

by Ken Davidson

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter has confirmed that Marco Antonio Gonzalez has been charged with murder in the October 20th death of Jesus Ibarra of East Chicago. On Saturday night, Hobart police were called to the scene of the Family Express at 2 E. Ridge Road in Hobart regarding a fight. The victim, Jesus Ibarra, ultimately showed up at Methodist Hospital Northlake in Gary with a stab wound to the chest. Ibarra later died from his injuries and Gary police notified Hobart police of the death. Gonzalez was arrested early Sunday morning but his name was not released because he is 17 years old. Adult charges have now been filed.

The Northwest Indiana Gazettte

The Northwest Indiana Gazettte

Sheriff Buncich Confirms Details in Lowell Murders

21 Oct

by Ken Davidson

thomas tj snow

Mugshot of Thomas TJ Snow who is currently in custody in Hawley, Minnesota

A Mugshot of Thomas “TJ” Snow’s arrest in Minnesota hung on the wall as Sheriff John Buncich confirmed the details of the crime previously reported by the Gazette.

Sheriff John Buncich held a press conference today with Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, Coroner Merrilee Frey and investigators Leo Finnerty and Matt Eaton. The sheriff confirmed that the bodies found in Lowell on Friday were those of popular Morton High School teacher Clifford Snow and Joyce Snow. Buncich stated the bodies were “in an advanced state of decomposition.” As previously reported by the Gazette, the cause of death was blunt force trauma and strangulation. The bodies were identified via dental records according to Coroner Frey.

Buncich explained that his office received a request to perform a welfare check on the Snows on Friday October 18. When officers arrived at the home they noticed 13 or 14 newspapers in the driveway. Officers forced entry into the home and discovered the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Snow.

Sheriff Buncich stated that there was evidence that Thomas TJ Snow had been “in and about” the residence subsequent to the deaths of his parents. Buncich explained that later investigation revealed that TJ Snow had used his parents credit cards subsequent to their deaths. When asked about the types of purchases Buncich responded “hotels, stores, etc.” Buncich said authorities would like to speak with anyone who may have had contact with TJ Snow during the period October 4-18.

An all points bulletin was issued for TJ Snow and a white Chevy HHR belonging to the deceased parents. Snow was arrested in Hawley, Minnesota on Saturday October 19. TJ attempted to flee from police after a routine traffic stop. Buncich described the apprehension as a “short pursuit after which Snow was taken into custody.” Officers traveled to Minnesota to speak with Snow. Buncich stated Snow was talking but had not confessed. He was scheduled to make a court appearance in Minnesota today.

Thomas Snow is officially a suspect in the deaths of his parents. He has not yet been charged. When asked about the procedures going forward, Prosecutor Bernard Carter explained that there are two warrants for the arrest of TJ Snow. Prosecutors in Newton County Indiana allege that Snow robbed a gas station on Route 10 on Thursday night. Additionally, there is a felony warrant for Thomas J. Snow for fleeing police in Lake County, Indiana that will allow officials here to hold him once he is released from Newton County.

Buncich credited Commander Eaton, the crime scene investigation staff, and the office of the coroner and prosecutor for working continuously since Friday to solve this case. When asked if there were other suspects in the case Buncich replied “No, not at this time.”

Buncich stressed that this is an isolated incident of domestic abuse and should not cause concern in the community. Thomas TJ Snow has not been charged and is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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