Aug. 6—GOSHEN — A controversial case began the first steps at closing as Jordan Norton, 31, was sentenced Thursday for two of the three charges that resulted in the death of David Artley Aug. 23, 2020.
Norton appeared in court for sentencing following his June 4 trial. He was found guilty of battery with a deadly weapon and criminal recklessness for injuries caused to Kali Smith during a shooting at Hardy's Bar, 610 S. Main St., Elkhart. For the larger crime of the murder of Artley, 43, the jury was hung.
Jordon Norton is charged with shooting and killing Artley during a confrontation at the bar Aug. 23, 2020. The bullet also struck Smith's foot, injuring her ankle. Artley died but during the trial, Norton insisted he shot him in self-defense.
Norton was sentenced to five years for battery by means of a deadly weapon, and two years for criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon, with an enhancement of three years and credit time to be calculated, although the murder case remains open.
A new jury trial is scheduled for Jan 23, 2023 for the single count of murder, and a trial status conference is scheduled ahead of it Dec. 29.
A jury found Aiden Burkins guilty of murder July 6, and Thursday he met with the court for sentencing for murder, attempted murder, and criminal recklessness.
Burkins was charged with the murder of Thomas Campion, 45, LaPaz, and shooting and injuring another man, Gregory Clark, at the Meadows Mobile Home Park in Nappanee June 6, 2020. Investigators also said a bullet penetrated a neighbor's home and nearly injured a man sleeping inside.
Investigators said Clark told them that the three men were friends and were spending time together the evening of June 5, 2020, at Campion's residence. He noted that the three had been using controlled substances and partying together, and wanted more beer, but could not find any place to buy it due to the late hour. Burkins stated that he had beer at his residence and invited them to come over, but left separately.
When Campion and Clark arrived, Burkins was brandishing a handgun and told them to leave, a court document said, but Campion continued toward him. Burkins shot Campion and Clark around 12:16 a.m. June 6, 2020, and called dispatch to inform them he had done so. Nappanee police were dispatched to the area and reported finding a man, later identified as Burkins, on the wooden porch area of Lot 170.
Burkins, 22, Nappanee, was sentenced to 55 years for one count of murder with an enhancement of three years and 703 days of time served credit, 30 years for attempted murder with a five-year enhancement, 1 year for criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon with a year enhancement, and 180 days for possession of marijuana — which will be served concurrently to the previous. Burkins told the court he intends to appeal.
RUBY BARCENAS MEDINA
A Goshen teen was sentenced Thursday for a crash that killed a teenager near Bristol July 29, 2021.
Ruby Barcenas Medina, was charged with one count of Reckless Homicide. An additional charge and a charge of operating while intoxicated were both dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement.
According to Elkhart County deputies, Barcenas Medina lost control of the vehicle while driving on C.R. 108 and struck a tree east of C. R. 31. Juan Avalos, 17, Elkhart, one of two passengers in the vehicle, was killed.
As part of the investigation, Barcenas Medina submitted to a blood analysis, which found evidence of marijuana in her system, a probable cause affidavit said.
Barcenas Medina was sentenced to three years on the charge, and granted 268 days plus good time for time served, with the remainder of her sentence to be served in home detention.
ALVIN R. SANDERS, III & DA'QUAVION WILEY
One of two men who are accused of the murder of a 15-year-old in May 2021 appeared in court Thursday. Alvin R. Sanders, III, 20, and Da'Quavion Wiley, 17, both of Elkhart, are believed to have shot a 15-year-old boy, found on McKinley Avenue with a gunshot wound to the neck, police said. At the hospital, the boy died of the injury.
Wiley has not yet been apprehended as of press time, but Sanders appeared in court Thursday. A warrant was issued for the two men July 22. Sanders was arrested July 25. His initial hearing was Thursday and the public defender's office was appointed for a jury trial date of Feb. 20.
RONNIE L. HAPNER
A man accused of a hit-and-run that resulted in the death of one Elkhart teen, Blaine Fisher, 18, and serious injury to another, McKade Nielsen, 18, on June 4, 2021, received a continuance in his trial Thursday.
Police arrested Ronnie L. Hapner, 34, of Elkhart, on a charge of leaving the scene of a serious body injury accident and a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident after the deceased teen's mother Jennifer Fisher, Mishawaka, shared a home security video of a white pickup truck to Facebook, asking her community to help police find the vehicle and suspect.
Hapner's trial date has been continued from Aug. 29 to March 6, with a trial status conference scheduled for Feb. 2.
TRISTAIN D. RILEY
Tristain D. Riley, 20, Elkhart, who is facing up to eight Level 3 felony counts of armed robbery withdrew a motion for speedy trial during Thursday's court sessions. Riley is accused of holding up several gas stations, conveniences stores, and fast food restaurants between Aug. 27 and Oct. 21, 2020, including Meijer gas station, 4522 Elkhart Road, Goshen; 7-Eleven, 2700 S. Main St., Elkhart; Little Caesar's, 4568 Elkhart Road, Goshen.; McDonald's, 3429 S. Main St., Elkhart; and Dollar General, 3517 S. Main St., Elkhart. Many of the locations were robbed more than once throughout the two-month period.
The affidavit notes that a bike matching the description of the one believed to be involved in the string of robberies as well as a handgun similar to the one described by witnesses was found in his Ashton Pines apartment. After an Oct. 11 robbery at Meijer, police said a trail camera was placed between Meijer and Ashton Pines to monitor the area. The camera recorded images of a man on a bicycle riding from the complex to Meijer shortly before the Oct. 21 robbery. Items matching the notable description of the robber including a plaid jumpsuit, purple Bedazzled backpack and a red wig had gone missing from another person in the apartment complex, the affidavit noted, and DNA analysis of a $100 bill from Little Caesar's showed a likely match to Riley and two unrelated people.
Riley's trial is scheduled for Sept. 17.
LASEAN T. GREEN
A robbery suspect saw his trial continued from Aug. 29 to Feb. 20. LaSean T. Green, 31, of South Bend was charged with a Level 3 felony count of Armed Robbery after holding a man up and injuring him after a Facebook Marketplace sale gone wrong.
Police said the two had planned to meet at Cabin Coffee Co., 707 Lincolnway E., Goshen, Feb. 20, 2020. The victim intended to purchase two phones from Green, who after getting out of the car, demanded the money and pistol-whipped the victim while a second suspect helped him take the money.
JESSIE B. HARADON AND JOSEPH THOMPSON
Two men accused of robbery at Wal-Mart, 2304 Lincolnway E., Goshen, appeared in court Thursday for a pretrial conference and bond hearing.
Jessie Haradon, 20, of Warsaw, and Joseph Thompson, 37, are accused of an attempted carjacking around 6 p.m. June 28. The charges include charges of attempted robbery, battery, theft, resisting law enforcement, and impersonating a public servant.
Haradon's bond reduction request was denied, and Thompson withdrew his request. The jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2023.