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In the News: Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office


Evansville, IN – “One call to the WeTip hotline led to the successful take down of a large methamphetamine dealer in our community,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann.

Following a two-day trial, it took a jury less than 15 minutes to find 42-year-old Samuel Newbold GUILTY AS CHARGED for numerous drug-related felonies. The highest being a Level 2 felony with a max punishment of 30 years. Newbold also admitted to being a Habitual Offender, which could add 20 years to his final sentence.

“The incredible detective work of Evansville Police Department Detective Nathan Hassler, Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Robinson, and the Joint Drug Task Force led to this successful prosecution.”

Samuel Newbold will be sentenced on August 8th.

See something, say something. Call WeTip Anonymous Crime Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME.


Evansville, IN – On Monday morning, Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge David Kiely sentenced 33-year-old Mario Watkins to 30 years in prison for dealing methamphetamine following an investigation by local authorities in March of 2017.

Detectives with the Evansville Vanderburgh County Joint Drug Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Mario Watkins for methamphetamine dealing in early 2017. Law enforcement detectives were able to provide the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office with crucial evidentiary elements in the case against Watkins.

A jury convicted Mario Dean Watkins of:
– Dealing Methamphetamine (Level 2 Felony)
– Dealing Methamphetamine (Level 3 Felony)

Following the verdict, Mario Watkins also pled guilty to a Habitual Offender Enhancement for having at least two prior unrelated felony convictions.


Evansville, IN – Deshay Hackner, convicted of killing two people during a robbery in October of 2017 in Evansville, was sentenced to 157 years in prison late Friday morning in Tippecanoe County Superior Court.

The trial and sentencing were held in Tippecanoe County because a Vanderburgh County judge granted a change of venue request last year.

Late Friday morning, Tippecanoe County Superior Court Judge Randy Williams sentenced Hackner to:

  • 60 years for Murder
  • 60 years for Murder
  • 5 years for Robbery (Level 5 Felony)
  • 5 years for Robbery (Level 5 Felony)
  • 12 years for Habitual Offender Enhancement
  • 10 years for Firearm Enhancement (#1)
  • 10 years for Firearm Enhancement (#2)

Following a trial that spanned two weeks in April, a Tippecanoe County jury found Deshay Hackner guilty as charged for the murders of Dewone Broomfield and Mary Woodruff, as well as two counts of robbery. Following the guilty verdict, Deshay Hackner admitted to a Habitual Offender Enhancement and two separate firearm enhancements.

Because the co-defendant in this case still has a pending criminal matter, the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office will not be releasing any further information.


Evansville, IN – Following a two-day trial, a jury convicted 33-year-old Mario Watkins of several drug offenses related to dealing large quantities of methamphetamine in March of 2017.

Detectives with the Evansville Vanderburgh County Joint Drug Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Mario Watkins for methamphetamine dealing in early 2017. Law enforcement detectives were able to provide the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office with crucial evidentiary elements in the case against Watkins.

On Tuesday morning, the jury convicted Mario Dean Watkins of:

  • Dealing Methamphetamine (Level 2 Felony)
  • Dealing Methamphetamine (Level 3 Felony)

Following the verdict, Mario Watkins also pled guilty to a Habitual Offender Enhancement for having at least two prior unrelated felony convictions.

“Our office will continue to prosecute criminals who litter our community with dangerous drugs,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “I want to applaud the efforts of Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Robinson, members of the Evansville Vanderburgh County Joint Drug Task Force, and Drug Enforcement Administration who worked to thoroughly investigate this case and stopped this particular flow of methamphetamine into Evansville.”

Mario Watkins will be sentenced in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court on July 8th at 9:00 a.m.


Evansville, IN – Early Friday morning, 47-year-old Shane O’Keefe was found guilty as charged in Vanderburgh County for several offenses including possession of methamphetamine, a Level 4 Felony.

Shane O’Keefe was arrested in July of 2018 following a traffic stop by Evansville Police detectives on Diamond Avenue. During the traffic stop, officers located methamphetamine and paraphernalia in the possession of O’Keefe.

Shane O’Keefe has previously been convicted of drug offenses in 2009.

Shane O’Keefe will be sentenced on June 27th at 1:00 p.m.


Evansville, IN – Early Wednesday morning, 18-year-old Terry Adams pled guilty to the attempted murder of a juvenile stemming from a shooting that took place in November of 2018 in the 1800 block of Washington Avenue.

Adams pled guilty to Attempted Murder, a Level 1 Felony, in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Wednesday morning.

On November 21st, a juvenile walked into Deaconess Hospital seeking medical treatment for a gunshot wound to the face. Immediately, law enforcement was called to the hospital to determine the events that led up to the shooting.

Terry Adams will be sentenced in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court on June 26th at 9:00 a.m.

The co-defendant in this case still has a criminal matter pending.


Evansville, IN – Following a two-day trial, a jury found 38-year-old Ryan Hensley GUILTY AS CHARGED for multiple felonies related to an attempted armed robbery in the parking lot of an Evansville restaurant in September of 2018.

Ryan Hensley was found guilty of:

– Attempted Armed Robbery (Level 3)

            – Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon (Level 6)

            – Criminal Recklessness with a Deadly Weapon (Level 6)

            – Attempted Theft (Level 6)

While on his way to work, the victim in this case was riding a scooter and pulled into the parking lot of Taco Bell off US-41 to make a phone call. Seconds later, a masked man riding a bicycle pulled up next to the victim and asked to ride the victim’s scooter. When the victim declined, the masked man pulled out a sword, pointed it at the victim’s chest, and said, “Do you want to lose your life?” The sword was approximately three feet long. When the victim took the keys and backed away from the scooter, the sword wielding masked man rode away on his bike.

A short time later, law enforcement officers learned the identity of the masked man was Ryan Hensley and that Hensley lived down the street in the 900 block of North Willow Road. When officers arrived at the home, they quickly located Ryan Hensley along with the sword and mask used in the attempted armed robbery. The officers also located the bike described by the victim in the backyard of the home.

Following the verdict, Ryan Hensley admitted to the Habitual Offender enhancement in reference to his prior felony convictions.

“This happened in broad daylight at lunch time off a busy roadway,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “Random acts of violence against vulnerable citizens will not be tolerated.”

“Without skipping a beat, our victim in this case called 911 and gave crucial information to emergency dispatchers,” explained Deputy Prosecutor John Bober. “That description immediately sent officers in the right direction. The victim in this case was on his way to work. And the defendant is now on his way to prison.”

Ryan Hensley will be sentenced on May 20th in Vanderburgh County Superior Court.


Evansville, IN – Following an extensive investigation by the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office and the Evansville Police Department, 49-year-old Michael Foster pled guilty Thursday afternoon to multiple serious charges in connection with a 2018 rape case.

Michael Foster pled guilty to:

Rape (Level 1 Felony)

Armed Robbery (Level 4 Felony)

Intimidation (Level 5 Felony)

In April of 2018, Michael Foster used a firearm to force his way into the victim’s apartment on Evansville’s east side. Once inside, Foster raped the victim causing severe injuries. However, immediately after Foster left the apartment, the victim was able to call 911 and provide crucial details to assist law enforcement in apprehending Foster.

When officers from the Evansville Police Department responded to the scene, the officers located Michael Foster in the parking lot of the apartment complex. Foster pointed a firearm at one of the responding officers. That officer fired his duty weapon, striking Foster in the lower torso.

Michael Foster will be sentenced to 45 years in prison on April 11th in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court.

EVANSVILLE, IN – Following a three-day trial, jury finds Paris Cornell GUILTY AS CHARGED in the murder of Kevin Colon outside an Evansville convenience store in 2018.

Paris Cornell was found GUILTY of:
Felony Murder
Attempted Armed Robbery
Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery

Following the GUILTY verdict, the jury also found Paris Cornell GUILTY of the firearm enhancement which will add 5-20 years onto his final sentence.

“This senseless crime has shattered multiple families.
And the sad part is no matter what we can never bring the victim of this crime back,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann.  “The violent acts we are seeing from younger and younger individuals in this community is deeply disturbing.  However, our office will continue to work to put dangerous criminals behind bars.”

The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank the investigative work of Evansville Police Detective Lowe, Deputy Prosecutor John Bober, and Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Robinson who were able to boil down months of investigative work into a solid case for the jury.

Paris Cornell will be sentenced April 15th at 2 p.m.


EVANSVILLE, IN – 39-year-old Earl Martin found GUILTY AS CHARGED in 2017 murder connected to deadly carjacking on Evansville’s east side.

Martin was found guilty of:
– Murder
– Attempted Murder
– Robbery resulting in SBI
– Robbery resulting in SBI
– Conspiracy to commit robbery

Following the verdict, Martin also admitted to the firearm enhancement and habitual offender enhancement.

“The work of Evansville Police Detective Dave Smith, Detective Jeff Hands, and Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Reed was impeccable in this case to bring justice to the families of these victims,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann.

The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office cannot comment on Earl Martin’s other pending criminal case.

Martin’s sentencing is February 15th, that hearing will be held in Vanderburgh County.


EVANSVILLE, IN – 18-year-old Charissa Robinson pleads guilty Wednesday morning to charges related to a deadly shooting on New Year’s Day in 2018.
Robinson pled guilty to:

  •  Murder
  •  Attempt to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury (Level 2 Felony)
  • Conspiracy to commit armed robbery (Level 3 Felony)
  • Theft of a firearm (Level 6 Felony).

Currently, there are four co-defendants in this matter with cases still pending. Robinson’s sentencing is set for March 20th.


EVANSVILLE, IN – A man accused of shooting and killing his wife in their driveway last year has admitted to her murder.

Charles Herron, 38, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to one charge of murder in Vanderburgh Superior Court this week.

He was charged in the death of 33-year-old Amber Herron, an Evansville native who worked full-time at the Ozanam Family Shelter near Jacobsville.

In Indiana, someone who pleads guilty but mentally ill is sentenced the same way as someone who pleads guilty. However, state law requires a mental health evaluation for a defendant who pleads guilty but mentally ill. If they are sentenced to prison, they are evaluated again and receive mental health treatment.

If the court accepts Charles Herron’s plea agreement, filed Monday, a misdemeanor gun charge and a sentence enhancement for committing a felony with a firearm will be dismissed.

The day of the plea hearing was emotional for Amber Herron’s family, her sister Tempest Rodgers said. Rodgers called it “devastating” to see Charles Herron in court.

She said she could not speak for her entire family but was relieved to see the case come to a close. Rodgers said she prays for Herron to seek forgiveness from the families involved and from God.

 “Amber loved Charles enough to always pray for God to help him and for Charles to change his life,” Rodgers said. “In honor of her, I pray for the same.”

Rodgers told the Courier and Press after Amber Herron’s death that her sister was “a second mom” to her siblings, a loving aunt who wrote long birthday cards and always found a way to talk to people.

She plans to write a statement for Herron’s sentencing hearing and ask Judge Robert Pigman to accept Charles Herron’s plea agreement.

“I just continuously ask for God to work in his life,” Rodgers said Tuesday.

“Most people don’t understand the need to forgive someone who has committed such a horrible act. But I know for me to move on and be happy, I have to let go of any anger or hatred toward him.”



EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) – A man found guilty in connection with a robbery and murder in Evansville has been sentenced.

The prosecutor’s office says Donovan Thomas was sentenced Friday to 65 years for the Dec. 31, 2017 murder of Michael Pardee.

Authorities say Thomas and two other men robbed and killed Pardee of Danville. They say it happened during a drug deal across the street from Washington Square Mall.

Police say Pardee was shot in the face.

Romano Wright, and DaSean Summers were also charged in the case.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.



EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) – Clarence Miller was sentenced to 82 years for a shooting outside The Pony Gentleman’s Club.

The prosecutor’s office said surveillance video showed Miller sneaking up behind nearby vehicles and firing multiple shots into a crowd of people outside the strip club in April 2017. Miller ran from the scene and was later arrested in Chicago.

Aaron Jennings was killed and another man was seriously hurt.

During Miller’s sentencing- Jennings aunt and uncle, little sister and mother all gave testimonies, sharing stories of his fun personality and love of life. All of them asked the judge to give Miller the maximum sentence.

“Surveillance video, DNA evidence, and eyewitness testimony were key to the successful prosecution of Clarence Miller,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “The incredible investigative work of Evansville Police Detective Keith Whitler provided our office with key pieces of evidence to present at trial. Mr. Miller chose to make a decision that night which will forever haunt the family of Aaron Jennings, but he will now go to prison for the rest of his life.”

After the verdict, he was also found guilty of a firearm enhancement, which added five to 20 years to his final sentence.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.


EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A man accused of dealing narcotics in Evansville was found guilty of multiple drug charges after a two-day trial.

David Dimmett, 38, was tried in Vanderburgh County Superior Court on charges including dealing narcotics and dealing a Schedule II controlled substance.

He was the first person in Vanderburgh County to be charged with murder in connection with a fatal overdose, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. That trial is scheduled to start Nov. 12.

This week, the jury found Dimmett guilty of the following crimes:

  • Dealing a narcotic drug as a level 2 felony;
  • Dealing a Schedule II controlled substance as a level 3 felony;
  • Possession of a narcotic drug as a level 3 felony;
  • Possession of a narcotic drug as a level 6 felony;
  • Misdemeanor marijuana possession;
  • and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, a less serious charge than the original charge of felony dealing in a Schedule III controlled substance.

Dimmett also pleaded guilty to a habitual offender sentence enhancement, according to the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office. The enhancement could add up to 20 years to his sentence on the criminal charges.

He will be sentenced Nov. 30 in Vanderburgh Superior Court on the drug dealing charges, according to court records.

Dimmett could go to trial on another drug-related charge as soon as next month.

More: Alleged heroin dealer indicted for murder after man dies of overdose

More: Eight indicted in Evansville heroin scheme

Dimmett was accused of murder after the fatal overdose of 35-year-old Kourtney Fields. Investigators believe Dimmett supplied Fields with the heroin that led to Fields’ death July 2017 death.

Public death records show his death was caused by “multiple drug intoxication” and ingesting heroin, methamphetamine and ethanol.

A grand jury indicted Dimmett of murder in Fields’ death in November last year. He was already in law enforcement custody at the time. He had been booked into Vanderburgh County Jail in July 2017 for the drug dealing charges he was found guilty of this week.


EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The man convicted of a fatal shooting at an American Legion in Evansville was sentenced Tuesday in Vanderburgh Circuit Court.

Darius Bushrod, 22, was sentenced to 75 years total in prison.

That sentence includes 60 years for a murder conviction, according to the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office, and another 15 years from a sentence enhancement for using a firearm to commit a felony.

More: American Legion fatal shooting suspect found guilty of murder

More: Arrest made in fatal American Legion shooting

Bushrod was found guilty of murder at trial last month. He was accused of fatally shooting 32-year-old Anthony Blaylock during a confrontation at the American Legion on East Chestnut Avenue.

Witnesses told police people tried to separate the two men after an argument, but they confronted each other again in the parking lot.

Police were called to the building shortly after 2 a.m. Aug. 27, 2017, for a report of shots fired. Multiple people were hurt during the gunfire, but Bushrod was only charged in connection with Blaylock’s death.

Bushrod was named as a suspect the week of the shooting but was not arrested until months later. A warrant for his arrest was served in January.


The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office is expanding the victims’ assistance program thanks to a federal grant.

County Prosecutor Nick Hermann announced on Tuesday that the victim’s advocacy staff will soon double.

It’s all part of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s Victims of Crime Act federal funding award.

The grant will now allow the prosecutor’s office to add three additional victims’ advocates to their team.

The victims’ assistance program currently only has one director and three victims’ advocates on staff.

Holly Dunn Pendleton, with Holly’s House said, “Victims are very different in their healing process. They’re very different in how they go through the justice system. All cases are different, so we need to have all kinds of different approaches to how we can provide support for them.”


Corey Wharton found guilty as charged Wednesday afternoon following a police pursuit in May, where officers located meth and a stolen gun in the vehicle.

Wharton was convicted of several charges including felon being in possession of a handgun. Wharton was also found guilty of being a habitual criminal, which will add up to 6 years to his final sentence.

“We will not tolerate this type of criminal behavior in our community,” explained Prosecutor Nick Hermann.

“We will continue to work diligently to put criminals behind bars, that are bringing drugs and guns into Evansville. Police officers are making these difficult traffic stops everyday and risking their lives in the process. Their hard work is not forgotten.”


After deliberating for 25 mins, jury finds Jesse Risley GUILTY of Lev 3 Aggravated Battery following beating outside of Franklin St bar that left a man severely injured in Sept of 2017.

Three people were charged with felonies after they allegedly beat up a man outside a Franklin Street bar for calling an employee names.

Evansville Police say the Sept. 24 confrontation started with a verbal argument between the beaten man and employee Amanda Breeze inside Lamasco Bar and Grill on West Franklin Street. According to a probable cause affidavit, the man called Breeze an expletive four times during the disagreement. The man and his companion were asked to leave and escorted off the patio by security.

While the victim and the woman with him were walking to the parking lot, two patrons allegedly came up to them and started hitting the man. Police say Jesse Risley and Jacob Humphrey hit the man in his head and face and knocked him to the ground.

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Risley and Humphrey allegedly moved away after the victim fell to the ground. Police say Breeze then came up and started hitting the man in his head and shoulder.

The victim was taken to Deaconess Hospital and reportedly suffered a skull fracture and some brain bleeding during the beating. An EPD detective wrote in the affidavit that when they interviewed the victim a few days after the confrontation, “(he) was having some problems with his speech and at times, things he said did not make sense.”

Hospital staff told the man and his family that the injuries would have long-term effects and he would need rehabilitation, according to the affidavit.

Breeze, Humphrey and Risley have each been charged with one count of aggravated battery as a level 3 felony. Prosecutors have indicated they will seek a criminal gang enhancement for Breeze, which could extend her sentence if she is convicted in the case.

Warrants were issued for Humphrey and Risley on Thursday when they were formally charged, according to court records.

Humphrey was booked into Vanderburgh County Jail shortly before 11 p.m. Monday and was released on a $5,000 cash bond by Tuesday afternoon. Amanda Breeze was charged Oct. 31 after her arrest 1 p.m. Oct. 27. She remains in the jail with bond set at $5,000.


EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The East St. Louis man found guilty of killing a religious leader in an Evansville motel was sentenced last week on murder and attempted murder charges.

Ryan Connors, 28, was found guilty at trial last month of stabbing Avery Scott Shoe to death.

Investigators said Connors joined a religious group traveling through the Midwest and then attacked Shoe when the group stopped at a local motel in January 2017. Another member of the group testified Connors stabbed him multiple times as well. That man told investigators he survived because he laid on the floor pretending to be dead.

More: Suspect in fatal stabbing case now in Vanderburgh jail

More: Man found guilty in Evansville murder of religious group leader

Shoe, who was from North Carolina, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man was taken to a hospital.

Connors was convicted of murder and attempted murder in the attack.

He was sentenced to 55 years in prison on the murder charge and 30 years on the attempted murder charge, court records show. Connors will serve those sentences consecutively, for a total of 85 years.

Connors received 615 days of jail credit for time served. He told the court during his sentencing hearing Friday that he plans to appeal the convictions.

A public defender will be appointed to advise Connors about his appeal options. His next hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 25 in Vanderburgh Superior Court.


After a little more than two hours of deliberation, the jury finds Clint Loehrlein guilty on all charges: one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated battery, and one count of resisting law enforcement.

After the jury came back with that verdict, Loehrlein pled guilty to the firearm enhancement in the case. According to the prosecutor’s office, that will add five to 20 years on to his sentence.

Clint Loehrlein was charged with killing his wife and attempting to kill his two twin daughters in 2017.

The trial started Monday in Vanderburgh County.

His daughters took the stand earlier in the week.



Vanderburgh County is getting national attention for a program that is helping to crack down on crime. 5,000 calls have come into the anonymous WeTip Hotline since it started five years ago.

About 300 cities across the country have a WeTip Hotline, but Evansville takes the lead in the number of tips and the quality of tips in comparison to cities similar in size.

In Evansville, the hotline has widely been used to report drug activity which has directly led to drug dealer arrests and even convictions. Tips are just one part of piecing together an investigation.

The more tips that come in with specific details help investigators compile all their information. Because WeTip is anonymous, we are told the community has learned to trust calling in with more specific details.

It makes it easy for everyone to help law enforcement out by reporting crime when they see it.

“It all works together. Social media, WeTip, law enforcement, citizens; if you work together as a team, it will make it a lot safer around here, and that’s what we really want. Just give as many specific details as you can about what’s going on in your neighborhood, and that’s what will get criminals locked up,” says Southeast Side Neighborhood Association President Tom Littlepage.

Prosecutor Nick Hermann and his office won the National Prosecutor of the year award at this year’s WeTip conference.

“What we’ve seen is we’ve seen widespread acceptance from the public in wanting to volunteer tips as well as giving us good tips. Giving us information, times, descriptions, license plate numbers, things like that that have really led to a lot of arrests and a lot of forwarding of an investigation,” says Hermann.

You can call 1-800-78-CRIME at any time to leave an anonymous tip.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.


EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) – An Evansville man has been sentenced for attempted murder.

A Vanderburgh County Judge sentenced 28-year-old Gerald Lewis to 36 years in prison in connection with a shooting at a business near First Avenue and West Columbia in 2016.

The victim called 911 to report Lewis entered her business, shot her, and then ran away. Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 4.29.58 PM

Lewis was arrested a short time later.

Related stories:

EPD investigating why man shot woman in face

Police investigating whether shooting was hate crime

Brother of woman shot says he wants to set the record straight about what happened

Evansville shooting victim out of the hospital, suspect to undergo mental evaluation

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved. 


Operation S.A.F.E. leads to arrest & conviction of Evansville man on several firearm & drug charges

Evansville, IN – After deliberating for 10 minutes Tuesday afternoon, a Vanderburgh County jury found 32-year-old Darion Lamar Bailey guilty of several firearm and drug charges related to an arrest near McGary middle school in March of 2017.

Law enforcement detectives were working Operation S.A.F.E (Selected Area For Enforcement) during Bailey’s arrest, which is a coordinated effort to dedicate extra manpower to certain areas of the city based on statistics for high crime areas and crime tips.Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 9.16.21 AM

While working extra patrol near McGary middle school, detectives noticed a man, later identified as Darion Bailey, behave suspiciously between cars while putting several items in a backpack. When officers attempted to stop Bailey, he shrugged off his backpack, took off running, and was caught a block away. When taken into custody, Bailey dropped a handgun.

When officers opened Bailey’s backpack, officers found another fully loaded black revolver, baggies of methamphetamine, marijuana, and prescription pills.

Following the guilty verdict, Darion Bailey was also found guilty as charged of the habitual offender enhancement, for a previous firearm conviction in 2003.

“Because of these coordinated efforts from our law enforcement officers, guns and drugs were taken off the streets of Evansville,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “These coordinated efforts of dedicating extra man power to high crime areas can have a direct impact on increasing the safety around Evansville. Mr. Bailey’s arrest was not far from a middle school, we cannot tolerate drugs and guns in the vicinity of kids trying to learn. Good investigations start with intelligence. Intelligence comes from officers, and the community. Please keep the crime tips coming.”

In April, Darion Bailey was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

** If you see something, say something. Report crime anonymously with the WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME.**


Videos, social media connecting Prosecutor to Public

Television viewers may be surprised to see Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann in the advertisements between shows and sporting events.

Those aren’t political campaign commercials, however, and the 30-second spots aren’t anything new.

They are public service announcements, Hermann explained, and his office has been doing them for most of the two terms he has held the position.Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 2.37.00 PM

“We’ve been doing them consistently the entire time I’ve been in office,” he said. “I think the public really appreciates it. No taxpayer money goes into it. We don’t have a budget for it.”

Instead, the prosecutor’s office has used its share of forfeiture money from drug cases, and the occasional grant, to fund its campaign of public service announcements.

“I want this office to be as transparent and available to the public as possible,” he said.

Most of the videos are seen on cable television, where his office is able to afford the air time and even negotiate donated spots.

Hermann said he first learned about the idea while attending Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council training shortly after his 2010 election. Other county prosecutors also use similar public outreach strategies, he said.

“We have used it to launch our We-Tip anonymous crime reporting hotline (in 2013) and keep the public informed on crime trends. It serves several different purposes,” he said.

In the seven years Hermann has been in office, he has seen the video topics evolve from the dangers of methamphetamine and meth labs to the current wave of opioids and heroin abuse and overdose deaths.

Since January, the videos have been produced by Jess Powers, a former television reporter who now works as spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.

“We are general on some of them and we then we try to be specific about certain issues,” she said.

Powers uses her digital production skills to create longer versions of the 30-second videos that can be shared via social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, as well as other social media outreach.

Another benefit of the prosecutor’s office’s move into the digital sphere has been to not just launch the We-Tip crime line but continuously remind people about it.

“When you need the number and it’s not there you’re not going to use it, so we try to get out there as much as we can,” Hermann said.

It’s paid off, Powers said, with more than 4,000 tips received in the last four years, including 637 tips in the first six months of 2017.

Callers can use the 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-782-7463) number to anonymously report criminal activity.


Vanderburgh Co. Prosecutor on threats, looking at increasing intimidation felony

VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) –Vanderburgh Co. Prosecutor Nick Hermann is speaking out about the threats going around against schools.He says a person arrested for threatening a school faces an intimidation felony anScreen Shot 2018-02-26 at 4.25.40 PMd six months to 2.5 years in jail.However, Hermann says the level six felony is not enough under these circumstances. He has been talking with Sheriff Dave Wedding and local legislatures about how to increase the charges.They are looking to see if state statutes can be changed to better reflect the severity of these threats. Hermann says he would like to see intimidation threats on schools increased to level five felonies.Even though it is easy to post a sentence or two, the terror that follows is not a joke.

“This isn’t funny,”  says Hermann. “This isn’t some minor thing where you can sit behind your computer and post something. I know some times that’s the intention of these people. They’re not trying to be malicious. They’re not trying to do something evil. They’re not trying to terrorize people, but that’s exactly what they’re doing. You have parents that are scared to drop their kids off. You have kids that are worried about having to go through drills and different things.”

Many of these threats are floating around on social media. Sometimes the same screen shot with a threatening message travels beyond the district it is intended to districts across the country because it is so general.

Hermann says it is time to hold people accountable.

“I think the parents of these children or these individuals if they’re adults need to be responsible for the cost of the law enforcement response because you’re talking thousands of dollars each time something like this happens,” says Hermann. “I think it’s time for us to start addressing that and to hold these people accountable when we can for their actions.”

Hermann gives credit to the collaboration among law enforcement agencies. He says city, county, and federal units have been working hand in hand with the schools with a unified goal: keeping our kids safe.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.


Evansville man who shot woman in face pleads guilty to attempted murder

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The Evansville man accused of shooting a woman in the face while shouting a homophobic slur pleaded guilty to attempted murder in Vanderburgh County this week.

Gerald Duane Lewis, 28, was arrested in July 2016 after a woman told police he came into the building where she has an office and apartment, then shot at her while she tried to run away.Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 4.29.58 PM

Lewis appeared Wednesday in Vanderburgh Circuit Court to plead guilty to the attempted murder charge, a level 1 felony. Under Indiana law, felonies are classified as levels 1 to 6, with level 1 the most serious except for murder.

Related: Man accused of shooting woman in face appears in court

Related: Attempted murder trial dates set in 2 Vanderburgh County cases

If the court accepts his guilty plea, Lewis could face up to 40 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. March 8.

Lewis was set for trial in less than two weeks before the guilty plea led to the court cancelling his trial. The process was delayed because he was ruled not competent for trial in March last year, but found competent several months later in September.

He was originally charged with robbery with serious bodily injury and carrying a handgun without a license in addition to the attempted murder charge. According to court records, the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office plans to drop the robbery and gun charges when Lewis is sentenced.

Lewis is in the Vanderburgh County Jail.


Evansville man found guilty of child molesting charges

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A jury Tuesday night convicted an Evansville man of two child molesting charges.

Mark A. Farmer, 56, was found guilty of molesting a 6-year-old girl after a trial in Vanderburgh County Superior Court.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 4.33.15 PMThe investigation by the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office began when the girl disclosed the abuse to her mother. A forensic interview was conducted at Holly’s House in which the child detailed multiple instances of sexual abuse by Farmer. The abuse occurred over a period of time at his residence.

According to Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Detectives, Farmer admitted to at least two instances of sexual abuse involving the victim during an interview in February.

His sentencing will be Jan. 18.


WeTip report leads to conviction of heroin dealer

An anonymous report leads to the conviction of a heroin dealer in Evansville. A Vanderburgh County jury found 58-year-old Larry Johnson guilty to several drug-related charges.

These charges stemmed from an anonymous tip about drug activity that was reported to the WeTip hotline Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 2.29.24 PMin May 2017.

Drug Task Force Detectives received a WeTip report on May 12th that drugs were being sold out of a home in the 700 block of Washington Avenue.

Within two days, detectives set up a controlled buy and bought heroin from Johnson.

When detectives searched Johnson’s home, they recovered 14 grams of heroin and various drug paraphernalia.

Johnson was found guilty of dealing in a narcotic drug more than 10 grams, dealing in a narcotic drug, and maintaining a common nuisance.

Larry Johnson will be sentenced on February 28th.


Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.20.08 PM

Evansville man sentenced to 65 years in prison for murder

EVANSVILLE (WEHT) – An Evansville man is sentenced to 65 years in prison Tuesday for the murder of 41-year-old Jamie Baker.

The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office says the sentence was handed down in Vanderburgh County Superior Court to 20-year-old Deryan Cook for the murder of Baker in June 2017.

In November, a jury found Cook guilty of murder and felony murder after a shooting on Cass Avenue following a botched robbery.

The prosecutor’s office says a witness to the murder picked Cook out of a photo lineup, during an interview with Evansville Police Department detectives.

Surveillance video from several nearby businesses was pieced together and provided investigators with a timeline of the events leading up to the shooting.

Officials say Evansville Police Department crime scene units collected four .40 caliber shell casings from the scene.

Investigators later found social media photos of Cook posing with a .40 caliber firearm.


— Bill could help with witness protection in Vanderburgh Co. —


A new bill filed in the 2018 legislative session would send $200,000 per year to Marion and Vanderburgh Counties for witness protection programs.

The funding is part of a three year pilot program, with the counties splitting the money.

They can use it for physical protection, threat investigations along with numerous witness and victim assistance services.

Vanderburgh County had 19 murders in 2017. 14 of those were by gunfire. That murder rate has tripled since 2016, according to Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.02.53 PMauthorities.

Authorities also say people reported hearing gun shots 850 times last year.

Vanderburgh County was chosen for this program because of the violent crime trends tied to gang activity and drug deals over the past few years.

The Prosecutor’s office handles thousands of cases every year.

In a few extreme cases, the say their office and victims or witnesses could benefit from the funding.

“We usually have issues because we don’t have funding, particularly in terms of short and long-term housing,” Erin Schmitt Tuley, Major Felony Deputy Prosecutor, explained.. “We work with several shelters throughout the county, but when those shelters are full, we really have no options as far as placing victims, so a steady stream of funding for support of those victims and witnesses in our trials and placing them in housing would be invaluable to us.”

The prosecutor’s office believes as many as 15 gangs are operating in the city.

A majority of the violent crime, they say, is tied to three.

Senate bill 150 was assigned to the senate appropriations committee. A hearing has not been set.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.


— Prosecutors seek life without parole in both Martin murder cases


Prosecutors are seeking life without parole for a man now charged with two murders in Evansville.Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.04.57 PM

Earl Martin, 38, was in court Thursday afternoon on the newest murder charge.

He’s accused of killing 41-year-old Erica Bradfield Fox and dismembering her body.  Her remains were found in trash bags outside his home.

[PREVIOUS: Suspect now facing murder charge in two Evansville cases]

Martin is also accused of shooting two men during a drug deal, killing one of them.

Martin’s due back in court in February.  He’s being held without bond.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.


— Prosecutor’s office adopts service dog providing comfort for victims —

We don’t often get to share inspiring moments that happen in many of our cases, but we are making an exception in this case.

Earlier this year, Vanderburgh Co Prosecutor Nick Hermann and Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Corne had the idea to implement a therapy dog program for young victims in sensitive criminal cases.

Then came Finn, our three-year-Old Sheltie, who loves people, treats, and being the center of attention!

We started using Finn earlier this year to comfort children during the criminal justice process.Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 11.36.21 AM

Throughout this week, we’ve had a criminal trial going on that involved a young victim having to testify in open court.

Little did we know that this young victim would take to Finn so much…
Immediately after testifying, this young victim ran back to our office so she could play with Finn. He provided a source of comfort and a distraction to what she has endured.

Because you can not identify her in this video, we wanted to share just how crucial this program has been for our victims in sensitive criminal cases.

So far this year, Finn has assisted in providing comfort to victims in three separate cases that ended in guilty verdicts. In our eyes, if we help one child, this will all be worth it.

Some folks were hesitant when we announced that our office would utilize Finn to help victims, but clearly it’s paying off … one case at a time.


–Evansville man convicted in burglary case–

Evansville, IN – On Tuesday afternoon, a Vanderburgh County Superior Court Jury found Ronnie Ricketts Jr. guilty of Burglary (Level 2 Felony) stemming from a shots fired incident at the Evansville Rescue Mission in March of 2017.

Evansville Police Detectives were called to a report of shots fired at the Evansville Rescue Mission on March 2nd of 2017. Detectives Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 1.55.31 PMdetermined Ronnie Ricketts Jr. went into the building and began arguing with two people inside. Ricketts Jr. then exited the building and retrieved two handguns from his vehicle. Ricketts Jr. began walking back towards the building with the handguns, so the doors were locked and secured. Ricketts Jr. fired bullets through the glass windows, and walked through the broken glass into the common area of the building. Once inside, Ricketts Jr. made several threatening statements towards two individuals involved in the earlier altercation.

According to the Indiana Criminal Code, a burglary is defined as:

A person who breaks and enters the building or structure of another person, with intent to commit a felony, commits burglary, a Level 5 Felony. However, a burglary charge is raised to a Level 2 Felony if it is committed while armed with a deadly weapon.

The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office argued that by shooting out the windows, entering the building through the broken glass, and threatening to harm people inside while armed with two handguns constituted Level 2 Burglary, and not a lower penalty charge. After the two-day trial, the jury agreed and found Ricketts Jr guilty of Level 2 Felony Burglary.

The penalty ranges for a Level 2 Felony is 10 to 30 years, according to the Indiana Criminal Code.

Ronnie Ricketts Jr. will be sentenced on February 9th at 1:30 p.m.


Vanderburgh Co. prosecutor, sheriff learning about jail substance-abuse program


Representatives from Dearborn Co., IN traveled to Evansville Monday to talk about a substance-abuse program that has proven successful Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 1.59.03 PMfor hundreds of inmates.

The Jail Chemical Addiction Program (JCAP) has slashed the number of repeat drug abuse offenders in Dearborn Co. by more than half.

At Monday’s meeting, the Office of the Attorney General invited prosecutors, sheriffs and other officials from counties in the region to attend and learn how to implement a similar program in their counties.

Kate O’Rourke attend and talked with leaders in Vanderburgh Co. about what a similar program could look like at the Vanderburgh Co. Jail.


Evansville man indicted for Murder following heroin overdose investigation

Evansville, IN – Late Thursday afternoon, a grand jury indicted 37-year-old David Andrew Dimmett for Murder in the death of 35-year-old Kourtney Fields.

In the early morning hours of June 25th, emergency personnel were called to a death investigation on South Fairlawn Avenue. Kourtney Fields was found unresponsive in a basement bedroom. Due to drug paraphernalia near his body, detectives with the Evansville Vanderburgh County Joint Drug Task Force were called in to process the scene. Toxicology results from the Indiana State Police indicated Fields died from a heroin overdose.

Through cell phone records and police interviews, detectives discovered evidence indicating that Fields purchased the heroin from David Dimmett.

David Dimmett is currently in the Vanderburgh County Jail for several drug-related charges.

Dimmett will now be advised of the new murder charge, and an initial hearing will be scheduled in Vanderburgh County Superior Court.

“Drug dealers are distributing potentially deadly substances into our community. Our country is experiencing one of the worst drug epidemics we’ve ever seen. And Vanderburgh County is no exception,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “Kids are losing their parents. And parents are losing their children. And we cannot stand by and let this continue to happen.”

If you suspect drug activity in your neighborhood, call the anonymous crime reporting WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME.


— Evansville man convicted of June murder — 

Evansville, IN – Late Thursday afternoon, a Vanderburgh County Superior Court jury found 20-year-old Deryan Cook guilty of murder and felony murder, after a shooting on Cass Avenue in June that killed 41-year-old Jamie Baker.

A witness to the murder picked Deryan Cook out of a photo lineup, during an interview with Evansville Police Department detectives. Surveillance video from several nearby businesses were pieced together and provided investigators with a timeline of the events leading up Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.20.08 PMto the shooting.

Evansville Police Department crime scene units collected four .40 caliber shell casings from the scene. Investigators later found social media photos of Deryan Cook posing with a .40 caliber firearm.

“Putting all the pieces together to formulate this case was made possible because of the tireless efforts of Evansville Police detectives and Vanderburgh County deputy prosecutors,” explained Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann.

Following the jury verdict, Deryan Cook pled guilty to a firearm enhancement which could add 5-20 years to his sentencing which is set for January 8th at 1:30p.m.


Chicago man sentenced for shooting into Evansville home with children inside

Evansville, IN­ – Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Magistrate Judge Kelli Fink sentenced 29-year-old Kory Johnson to nine years in prison, the maximum possible sentence for his convictions.

In July, a jury found Johnson guilty of:

  • Carrying a handgun without a license
  • Criminal Recklessness – Shooting a Firearm into a DwellingScreen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.24.57 PM
  • Attempted Residential Entry

The prosecution was a joint effort between the Evansville Police Department, the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office, and the ATF.

In March, Johnson shot a 9mm handgun into a home with a woman and her four children inside. One of the shots lodged a bullet in a child’s bedroom next to the bed. The woman and children were defenseless and hid in a closet while Johnson shot into the house enough times to blow the doorknob off the door. He then tried to reach into the house and unlock the door but was unsuccessful. Johnson later ditched the gun in the backyard and jumped over a neighbor’s fence to hide from police.

“Due to the extensive investigative work of the different agencies involved in this case, the victim and her children can finally have peace of mind,” explained Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor Jillian Hanneken.


Evansville man sentenced for charges related to child molesting

Evansville, IN – Late Friday afternoon, Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge David Kiely sentenced 43-year-old Michael Douglas Beasley to at the Indiana Department of Corrections following a 2015 investigation by the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office.

Last month, Michael Beasley pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Child Molesting, a Level 1 Felony.Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.27.01 PM

In 2015, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Michael Beasley’s IDOC Parole Agent after it was determined that Beasley had been inappropriately communicating with children under the age of 18. Those letters were turned over to investigators. The letters, written by Beasley, contained sexually suggestive content. According to the arrest affidavit from 2015, Beasley had previously told his parole agent that he needed help with his sexual desires towards children.

Following Beasley’s arrest in 2015, the case was assigned to Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Corne, who handles crime against children cases.

“The successful prosecution of this case was made possible by the tireless efforts of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Corne, and other agencies in Kentucky,” explained Prosecutor Nick Hermann.

Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Corne explained following the sentencing, “I’ve agonized over this case for over two years. And so have countless of other investigators. Hopefully today’s result will instill some sense of justice for the young victims in this case. They should have never been put through this, and we hope they can now move on with their lives.”

*You can report illegal activity to the anonymous crime reporting WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME.*


Evansville man found guilty of child molesting charges

Evansville, IN – Late Tuesday evening, a Vanderburgh County Superior Court Jury found 56-year-old Mark Allan Farmer guilty of:

  • Child Molesting (Level 1 Felony)
  • Child Molesting (Level 4 Felony)

The investigation by the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office began after a disclosure by the 6-year-old victim to the child’s mother. A forensic interview was conducted at Holly’s House in which the child detailed multiple instances of sexual abuse by Farmer, that occurred over a period of time at his residence. According to Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Detectives, Farmer admitted to at least two instances of sexual abuse involving the victim during an interview in February.

The case was assigned to Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Corne who handles cases involving intimate crimes against children.

“I’m very pleased the jury came to the correct verdict,” explained Corne. “The bravery of young victims in these cases continues to amaze me.”

Before her testimony, the young victim relied upon the comfort of a therapy dog named Finn, a tool for the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office to comfort victims of intimate crimes.

Mark Farmer’s sentencing date is scheduled for January 18th.


Hidden in Plain View: Addiction is Real and VCPO show off interactive exhibit

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office hosts exhibit to show signs of child drug abuse

Hidden in Plain Sight: Identifying the signs of drug abuse

On what first glance appeared to be an average teenager’s bedroom set up in the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office Thursday, a closer look revealed what would be any parent’s worst nightmare.

70 signs of drug abuse were littered throughout the display; some obvious, some innocuous. The goal is not to scare, but to educate, which is why the VCPO invited Addiction is Real, or AIR, to show the “Hidden in Plain Sight” exhibit.Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 8.43.39 AM

“Obviously we’ve had an opioid problem in our community, which has moved into a heroin problem, and we’re seeing these people overdose, we’re seeing people become addicted,” said Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “And you have started to see, you know, younger children, you know, particularly middle school, and high school, getting involved in these types of drugs.”

Many of those who help with AIR do so because they wish someone had shown them the signs that are sometimes hard to see.

“You just don’t think that little baby of yours grew up to be this sneaky and will lie, and the one thing my son told me was, you know, I’m an addict mom, I lie,” Pam Greenberg said.

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 8.43.52 AMHer son Justin Greenberg was a straight A student, and an athlete. In college, Justin fell into drug abuse. Much of “Hidden in Plain Sight” display was based off his room.

“My son unfortunately, after being in rehab for a full year, a month after he was out of a rehab, he passed away. It just got a hold of him, and he couldn’t let go,” Greenberg said. “If I could stop this for one family, one mother, that’s why I do this.”

Whether it’s the salt used to separate the alcohol in hand sanitizer, the dryer sheet masking the smell of marijuana smoke, or the screw driver that helped hide heroin under the light switch, something seemingly innocent can be anything but.

According to AIR, that sentiment may not be something people, specifically parents, want to hear, but need to.


— A Car Crash And A Mistrial Cast Doubts On Court-Ordered Mental Health Exams —

One day in August 2016, 83-year-old Albert Fink crashed his 2012 BMW sedan into a tree, on a curve on Indiana State Road 46 just outside of Bloomington.Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 11.19.55 AM

Fink — a Bloomington psychologist — was to testify the next day as an expert witness at the trial of Caleb Loving, who in 2015 was charged with arson and possession of explosives.

By chance, two Indiana State Police Detectives were driving right behind him that day. Indiana State Police Sergeant Curt Durnil said that when they interviewed Fink, he told them the crash was deliberate.

“His intention was to commit suicide, right here on this tree,” said Durnil.

Vanderburgh County prosecutor Nick Hermann, who was trying the Loving case, said soon after the crash, his office got a call from a state trooper. The trooper explained that a doctor had been in an accident and confessed to falsifying a report related to a trial he was going to testify at.

“We quickly realized that that was the trial we were in,” recalled Hermann.


Evansville woman sentenced to 45 years for murder of boyfriend

A 26-year-old Evansville woman pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday, a week before her trial was to have started.

Chauna Reed pleaded guilty to the Oct. 18, 2016 murder of her boyfriend, Stedman Baird, 27, in their apartment in the 1800 block of Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 11.37.53 AMPlantation Court.

As part of the plea agreement, Reed will serve a 45-year sentence. Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge David Kiely will sentence her at 9 a.m. Oct. 2.

Prosecutors will dismiss charges of dealing methamphetamine and narcotics, as well as a sentencing enhancement for using a firearm that would have added time to her sentence if she had been convicted at trial.

On Monday, Kiely denied defense attorney Barry Blackard’s motion seeking to suppress her police statements from use at trial because she was allegedly intoxicated at the time. An Evansville Police Department detective testified Reed spoke coherently, understood her rights and did not appear impaired.

Reed admitted Tuesday that she was the influence of methamphetamine and cocaine at the time of the shooting, and that she slept with a .40-caliber pistol under her bed pillow. She said her drug use had impaired her ability to understand and see things at the time, as well as her ability to remember some things.

Reed admitted that she fired her gun through her bedroom doorway.


Prosecutor raises concerns over disturbing trends in criminal sentencing, addiction

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann spoke to Indiana legislators recently about the impact of the state’s reformed criminal code.

nick-001 Hermann said he represented the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, addressing prosecutors’ concerns to the General Assembly’s Courts and Criminal Code summer study committee on Sept. 6.

 “There were a lot of good things in it and there are some things that need to be corrected,” he said.

 While the changed criminal code initially appeared to alleviate Indiana’s rapidly growing prison population, it did so by shifting responsibility for housing the lowest level felony inmates to county jails.

 The result has been overcrowding at many jails, Hermann said.Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 2.31.38 PM

 “Jail has become a holding tank for people with mental health concerns or who need intensive drug treatment,” he said.

The Vanderburgh County Jail currently houses more than 90 Indiana Department of Correction inmates.

“When you have a jail that is near or over capacity and then you add another 90 people, it puts tremendous pressure on judges and law enforcement officials not to put people in jail,” he said. “A jail is for pre-trial detention, for people who are awaiting trial who are a threat to public safety.”

Hermann also called attention to the disparity in funding for housing inmates in jails, with the state paying counties $35 per day for each inmate while the cost of keeping them in the Department of Correction is $55 per day.

Although the changed criminal code mandated inmates serve more of their sentences before they are eligible for release — it’s now 75 percent instead of 50 percent — the penalties for many crimes were reduced, Hermann said.

The result has been that many inmates are serving less time, with some who need treatment languishing in jail while drug dealers serve shorter sentences.

Hermann cited Indiana Department of Correction statistics that show since the reformed criminal code went into effect, there has been a decrease in the average time inmates convicted of drug dealing offenses spend behind bars.

For instance, while dealing narcotics such as cocaine and heroin is a level 2 felony with a 10-30 year sentence, convicted narcotics dealers are serving an average of 5.1 years of their sentences. Methamphetamine dealers are serving an average of 6.7 years of their sentences.

Prosecutors have seen a general increase in felony charges statewide since 2010, according to Indiana Trial Court statisticm, Hermann said.

He said there disturbing statewide trends in Indiana. “Crime rates are up, CHINS (Children In Need of Services) cases are up, overdose deaths are up, child fatalities are up, prisons and jails are full,” he said.


— Indiana Secretary of State thanks Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann for work on securities fraud case —

Evansville man sentenced to 5 years for securities fraud
Eric Morgan will serve time after scamming investors for over $600,000

INDIANAPOLIS (August 8, 2017) — Eric N. Morgan of Evansville has been sentenced to 5 years by the Vanderburgh Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 3.14.28 PMCircuit Court.  Morgan’s sentencing comes after an investigation led by the Secretary of State’s office.
The investigation began in 2014 when the Secretary of State’s office received a complaint about Morgan.  Morgan was the President and CEO of Liquid Ninja and took more than $600,000 from 3 victims in the Evansville area for investments in his energy drink company, but instead used the money for personal gain.  Neither Morgan nor the product he offered were licensed in the State of Indiana.
“This is not the first time an unlicensed fraudster has conned Hoosiers into an investment scam,” said Secretary Lawson. “We urge investors to do their homework before investing and to contact the Secretary of State’s office if anything seems suspicious.  I would like to thank Vanderburgh Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann for his leadership and hard work in pursuing this case.”
“This is another example of why an individual should always do their due diligence before investing a substantial amount of their hard-earned cash,” said Securities Commissioner Alex Glass.  “Taking the time to research potential investments is an important part of preventing investment fraud.”
Morgan was sentenced to 5 years, to be served as 1 year in the Department of Correction, followed by 4 years on Work Release.  He is ordered to pay $650,024 in total to his 3 victims.

— Evansville Man Sentenced For Child Molestation Charges —Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 2.20.29 PM

An Evansville man accused of child molestation learns his fate. A Vanderburgh County Magistrate sentenced 51-year-old Jeffrey Ivan Hall to 20 years behind bars.

Hall is accused of molesting a young child multiple time between October 2014 and June 2016.

Holly’s House investigators and EPD detectives gathered enough evidence in this case to arrest Hall on child molestation charges.

If you think a child is being abused, call 1-800-800-5556.

To report domestic violence or sexual assault, call 911, or the 24/7 hotline at 1-800-332-7385.


— Drug dealer sentenced to 20 years in prison —

An Evansville woman will spend 20 years behind bars for several drug-related felonies.

A Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge sentenced Darah Kammerer, 44, to 20 years behind bars.Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 5.17.59 PM

Kammerer was arrested after detectives with the Evansville Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force raided a home on Covert Avenue in October of 2016, and located methamphetamine, prescription pills, and a .380 caliber pistol inside.

Vanderburgh Co. Prosecutor Nick Hermann says the investigation was a result of concerned citizens notifying law enforcement and a concerted effort by detectives to find the person responsible.

To report drug activity in your neighborhood, you can call the anonymous WETIP hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME.


Prosecutor: Evansville man sentenced to 40 years in child molestation case


An Evansville man was sentenced to 40 years in a child molestation case.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, 42-year-old Fredrick Rogers pled guilty to 12 felonies.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 5.11.55 PM

In June, 32-year-old Kaara Broesch was sentenced to 30 years in prison for her role in the crimes.

In January, detectives with the Evansville Police Department say they discovered Broesch forced a child under the age of 14 to perform sexual acts on her boyfriend, Fredrick Rogers.

Police say Broesch told them she did it because she has a meth problem and was scared of Rogers.

Copyright 2017 WFIE. All rights reserved. 


Jury reaches guilty verdict in molestation case

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) –Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 6.23.42 PM

A Vanderburgh County jury found an 80-year-old Evansville man guilty of child molestation.

Robert Ludwig Sr. is accused of engaging in sexual acts with a victim under the age of 16 several times.

We’re told that victim disclosed information about the incidents to a teacher in October of 2016.

Ludwig was booked into jail Friday night. He’s expected to be sentenced August 21.

Copyright 2017 WFIE. All rights reserved. 


— Warrant Compliance Day —Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 11.28.06 AM

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann and Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding joined us on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming Warrant Compliance Day in Vanderburgh County.


— Prosecutor Nick Hermann explains purpose behind Warrant Compliance Event —Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 11.20.29 AM

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann was interviewed by Brad Byrd on July 24th, 2017 for the upcoming Warrant Compliance Event held on July 26th, 2017.



— Prosecutor’s Office adds furry friend to team —

— Prosecutor’s Office hopes newest member will help ‘comfort’ victims —

— Prosecutor’s Office Adds Furry Friend to Help Comfort Victims —

The latest staff addition at the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office will be wearing a collar instead of a tie when he starts work later this year.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 11.59.39 AMFinn, a service dog, is Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Corne’s 2-year-old Shetland Sheepdog. Later this year Finn will start work as the prosecutor office’s first certified therapy dog.

His job will be to calm the fears and anxiety’s of crime victims, especially children, comforting them in settings that can Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 11.36.21 AMoften be overwhelming.

“For any victim who having trouble dealing with the (court) process, particularly those involved with intimate crimes, it can be one of the most scary experiences they have ever had,” Corne said.

Finn’s gentle demeanor will provide a much-needed way of reaching through those anxieties to connect with people.

“He is very loving, friendly, happy and playful,” Corne said.

Often children who are victims of crime have been threatened by the perpetrator with harm to themselves or others if they talk about it, Corne said.

“When they walk through that door and there’s Finn. Finn is not mad at them,” she said.

That comforting presence will hopefully give victims, especially children, something else to focus on and help them relax as they speak to investigators, said Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 11.35.37 AM“These cases are obviously very important. In every single one of these cases the most important piece of evidence is the statement of the victim,” he said. “Particularly with a child, just trying to get the truth of what happened can be difficult. The hope is that utilizing the service of a therapy dog in this instance will help in that and help build a relationship with the victim. When a dog is used the rate of disclosure is much, much higher.”

In June, Finn successfully completed all 10 tasks of the American Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Program obedience course.

 That is the first step to certification with Pet Partners, a national registry for therapy animals, said Cyndie Kieffer, local instructor and pet evaluator for the nationwide organization.

Corne will next have to take her own handler training course, Kieffer said, learning how to interact with people and her dog in therapy settings. The course also teaches handlers how to best advocate for their therapy animal. The two will then be evaluated.

Kieffer said her own dog, Jack, works alongside her in her practice as a licensed social worker in Southern Illinois.

“When I met Finn, I had a chance to see him interact with a great variety of people and he greeted everyone enthusiastically. He is definitely smart,” she said.


— Evansville man sentenced to 69 years in prison —

An Evansville man convicted of nine felonies in an attempted robbery and gunfight that injured five people will spend almost 70 years in prison.

Jarvice Sears, 21, was sentenced to 69 years during a hearing Thursday.

Police said Sears and three other armed men tried to rob people inside a Virginia Street apartment in October 2015. Three of them were shot Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 3.57.50 PMand injured, including Sears, who was shot in the chest. None of the injuries were life-threatening. The wounded men were taken to a hospital and the fourth man as well as a getaway driver were arrested.

Two other men – a man inside the apartment and a neighbor who opened his door when he heard noise – were also shot and injured after exchanging gunfire with the attempted robbers.

Sears was charged with multiple felonies in October 2015, some of which were dropped. In May, he was found guilty of the following charges:

  • Two counts of burglary with serious bodily injury, both level 1 felonies
  • Attempted robbery with serious bodily injury, a level 2 felony
  • Four counts of attempted robbery, a level 3 felony
  • Two counts of aggravated battery, a level 3 felony


Evansville man sentenced for January robbing, carjacking —


An Evansville man has been sentenced to nearly three decades behind bars.

According to the Vanderburgh Co. Prosector’s Office, 40-year-old Gary Whittington Jr. was sentenced Wednesday to 28 years for a string of Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 12.06.54 PMcrimes involving robbery, burglary, and criminal confinement.

In May, a jury convicted Whittington on nine felonies in connection with a January crime spree.

[Evansville man convicted for robbery and home burglary]

Whittington Jr. was arrested after deputies responded to a hold up in progress in the 1600 block of Allens Lane. The victims reported two men forced them out of their vehicle and stole personal items before stealing another vehicle and driving off.

[Father & son charged with robbing, carjacking CSX employees]

Several hours later, deputies were called to a burglary in the 13000 block of St. Wendel Road.

Investigators used surveillance video from cameras on the property to identify the two men as Whittington and his son, 21-year-old Gary Elijah Whittington.

Gary Elijah Whittington is set to be sentenced on Monday.


Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Picked for Indiana Supreme Court Committee


Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann has earned a position on an Indiana Supreme Court Committee.nick-001

Hermann is one of six Indiana legal professionals who will be appointed to the Rules of Practice Committee on July 1.
The terms will expire in June 2022.

Throughout the year, members of the committee receive proposed rule amendments from different sources across the state. The committee will evaluate the requests to if changes need to be proposed.

“It is an honor to be selected to serve on the Indiana Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure,” said Prosecutor Hermann.  “The work of this committee impacts the legal community across the Hoosier state.”

Copyright 2017 WFIE. All rights reserved. 


— Got a warrant? Here’s how to avoid arrest —

Vanderburgh County residents facing outstanding warrants can turn themselves in without being arrested and have their warrant lifted during a three-hour period next month.

The idea, said prosecutor Nicholas Hermann, is to help clear the backlog of warrants in the Vanderburgh County court system and move cases forward.Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.47.02 PM

He said there are more than 13,000 active warrants in Vanderburgh County. Oftentimes they are for missing a court date, although they may be for other reasons such as owing child support or probation violations.

Active warrants often don’t get served until the person comes into contact with the justice system again somehow, Hermann said, such as in a traffic stop or when they become involved in another incident.

People with active warrants can come to Courtroom 110 in the judicial side of the Civic Center 9 a.m. – noon July 26 to have their warrant lifted and new court dates scheduled. Those attending the event must bring a form of identification, said Jess Powers, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor’s Office.

The event is only for warrants in misdemeanor, level 5 and level 6 felony charges. Although those who come to the event will not be arrested, their charges will not be dropped.

“The idea is to get them back on the court calendar and get their case moving again,” Hermann said.



— Evansville woman guilty of dealing large quantity of meth —

Evansville, IN – Following a two-day trial, a jury found 44-year-old Darah Mariah Kammerer guilty of several drug felonies in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 5.17.59 PM

Kammerer was arrested after detectives with the Evansville Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force raided a home on Covert Avenue in October of 2016, and located methamphetamine, prescription pills, and a .380 caliber pistol inside.

“The jury listened to the evidence we presented and came back with the correct verdict. Detectives with the Evansville Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force got this large amount of methamphetamine off the streets. We won’t tolerate drug dealers in Evansville,” explained Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor Emily Hall following the verdict.


— Woman sentenced for sex crimes against child, nets 30 years behind bars —

An Evansville woman has been sentenced in a sex crimes case that started in January.

Officials with the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office say 32-year-old Kaara Broesch was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Police say the victim, who is under the age of 14, was interviewed at Holly’s House. They say Broesch admitted she forced the girl to perform sex acts with Frederick Rogers while being video taped. Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 1.53.03 PM

The police report says the victim was also forced to watch Rogers and Broesch have sex, and watch other pornographic videos.

Police say Broesch told them she did it because she has a meth problem, and was scared of Rogers.

Officers say Rogers denied the claims at first, but then confessed.

Rogers’ case is still pending.


— Woman sentenced to 20 years in child sex crimes cases —

A woman accused of paying a young teenager’s parent to bring the girl to her home, where she sexually abused the teenager, was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison.

Kaze Gathings, 22, was originally charged with 30 counts of child molesting as a level 3 felony. Electronic court records show that she pleaded guilty to one of those charges and the rest were dismissed.

Under Indiana law, level 3 felonies carry a sentence of three to 16 years.Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.52.06 AM

Gathings was arrested in November and allegedly told police she molested the victim multiple times over several months, starting when the victim was 13 years old and Gathings was 20.

She was also convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor in a separate case filed around the same time. According to a probable cause affidavit, she confessed to molesting the 13-year-old victim while police were investigating the sexual misconduct with a minor case, which involved a separate 15-year-old victim.

That case stemmed from a report that Gathings had a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old victim when Gathings was 21, but told the victim she was 17. Gathings was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday in that case after pleading guilty to one charge of sexual misconduct with a minor as a level 4 felony.

In a statement released after the sentencing hearing in the child molesting case, the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office thanked victim advocacy center Holly’s House “for their extensive work gathering evidence and other significant materials for this case.”

Gathings was not listed as an inmate at the Vanderburgh County Jail or in the Indiana Department of Corrections as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

To report child abuse, call Indiana Child Protective Services at 1-800-800-5556.


— Man sentenced to 60 years in strip club slaying —

A man convicted of murder in a fatal shooting outside an Evansville strip club was sentenced to 60 years in prison

gerrod pointer Monday, just five years short of Indiana’s maximum sentence for the crime.

A Vanderburgh County Circuit Court jury convicted 27-year-old Gerrod Pointer after a three-day trial in May.

He was convicted of shooting Maurice Heyward, 38, early in the morning of Feb. 13, 2016, outside the Lucky Lady Lounge on North Main Street, where Heyward worked security.

“The defendant was lying in wait to shoot down the victim in this case,” Judge David Kiely said.


Michael Howell sentenced to 57 years in deadly shooting, police chase

A Vanderburgh County judge on Thursday sentenced Michael Damien Howell to 57 years in prison for the April 9, 2016, shooting death of Beverly Karns and charges linked to an ensuing chase by law enforcement.


Baker gets 45 years in Fares Avenue killing–

An Evansville man convicted of voluntary manslaughter was sentenced to 45 years in prison Thursday for fatally shooting 22-year-old Robert Ocke-Hall in the chest.

Although Kyle Baker, 23, had been charged with murder, a jury in Vanderburgh Circuit Court opted to convict him of the lesser manslaughter charge.

The sentence includes 30 years for manslaughter and 15 for using a firearm. Baker still faces a July 17 trial in a separate intimidation and Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 10.16.13 AMbattery case from 2016.

Darrin Ocke, Robert’s father, testified Thursday that his son was autistic but had disrupted his support services because he wanted to live on his own.

Before sentencing Baker, Judge David Kiely quoted a line from one of the many letters he said he received about Ocke-Hall: “He is a wonderful young man whose life was taken away too early.”

Baker’s lengthy criminal record extended back to the age of 12, including several juvenile convictions involving violence and weapons, as well as adult convictions for battery, theft and marijuana possession, according to prosecution evidence.

“It is very difficult to go to jail for possessing marijuana in Vanderburgh County but nevertheless, he managed to do it,” said Deputy Prosecutor Keven McDaniel. “He does the same thing over and over again. He has showed nothing but a criminal mindset from the age of 12. He simply is a danger to everyone.”

Officer James Delano testified that in 2012 Baker admitted to being in a gang called Crazy White Boys. He said Baker was among five or six males he questioned while responding to a call about a fight with baseball bats.

Detective Crystal Thomas testified that Baker’s name was photographed in a picture of gang grafitti among a roll call of names listed alongside a Crazy White Boys monogram.

Officer Jennifer Cueto, who was lead investigator in Ocke-Hall’s death, testified that Baker made phone calls from jail attempting to collect drug debts and trying to convince people to lie for him in the shooting case.

 A surveillance camera at a nearby business recorded the April 8, 2016, shooting but at trial defense attorney Jon Schaefer argued Baker was acting in self-defense and did not intend to kill Ocke-Hall.

Although Baker did not testify at the trial, prosecutors played to the jury excerpts of jail telephone calls and his police interview.

Baker told police said he walked to Fares Avenues to look for his brother, who owed him money. He said he had been calling his brother’s phone but Ocke-Hall kept answering and that the two argued and exchanged threats.

Several time during the interview Baker told police he could not remember much of what happened because he had been taking drugs for two days before the shooting and was having black outs. He admitted shooting Ocke-Hall but said he did not intend to do it.

The video, played at trial, showed Ocke-Hall walking and speaking on a cell phone as Baker and his girlfriend approached from the opposite direction. Baker could be seen pulling a gun, extending his arm and running toward Ocke-Hall who stepped backward as Baker shot him in the chest at close range.

Baker was then seen running away. Police recovered the gun and Baker’s jacket, discarded by a nearby railroad track.

Defense attorney Jon Schaefer put Baker’s mother, Debra Baker, on the stand to testify that her children were removed from her home and placed in foster care twice because of her and her husband’s drinking and drug use.

She testified she had to kick her children out of her house to maintain her sobriety because they continued using drugs after she had stopped.

Schaefer quoted studies indicating children in foster care developed emotional and substance abuse problems at a much higher rate than others. He argued Baker fit that profile.

“Kyle was living on the street. He was using drugs. He was running with a gang. He commits crimes. He’s got behavior problems. He has attachment problems,” Schaefer said. “He didn’t wake up that day intending to kill somebody.”


–Evansville man guilty of murder in strip club shooting —

May 17th, 2017: Following a three day trial, a jury found 27-year-old Gerrod Pointer guilty of murder Wednesday afternoon in Vanderburgh Co. Circuit Court.

Pointer was charged with shooting and killing 38-year-old Maurice Hayward outside an Evansville strip club on February 13th, 2016.

Two months after the deadly shooting, law enforcement officers near Wichita, Kansas located Pointer.

He was later transported back to Vanderburgh County.

During the course of the trial, the jury watched several hours of surveillance video, listened to testimony from witnesses, and heard from Evansville Police Officers were were first on scene.

Courier & Press: Lucky Lady shooter found guilty of murder

14 WFIE: Jury finds Gerrod Pointer guilty of murder


— Evansville man guilty of manslaughter in shooting of unarmed man —

May 10th, 2017: The man accused in a fatal shooting on Fares Avenue in 2016 was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter on Wednesday.

Kyle Baker was accused of shooting Robert Ocke-Hall, 23. The April 8, 2016, shooting was captured on surveillance video from a nearby Fares Avenue business.Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 10.16.13 AM

Baker could face up to 30 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to a sentence enhancement of using a firearm while committing a felony that could add another 5-20 years to his sentence.

Baker will be sentenced at 2 p.m. June 5.

Surveillance showed Ocke-Hall walking and speaking on a cell phone as Baker and his girlfriend approached from the opposite direction. In the video, which was played in court, Baker is seen pulling a gun, extending his arm and running toward Ocke-Hall who appears to step backward as Baker shot him in the chest at close range.

Baker is seen running away as his girlfriend continued walking past Ocke-Hall without helping him. Police recovered the gun and Baker’s jacket discarded by a nearby railroad track.

Autopsy evidence at the trial showed that Ocke-Hall had no drugs or alcohol in his system when he died of a gunshot wound to the heart, and police testified he was unarmed.

Man guilty of manslaughter in Evansville shooting


–Evansville business owner found guilty of raping customer —

May 10th, 2017:Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.21.50 AM Vanderburgh County Superior Court Judge Robert Pigman sentenced Edward Meiggs to nine years behind bars Wednesday afternoon.

In April, a jury found 43-year-old Edward Meiggs guilty of Rape, a level 3 felony, following a three-day trial.

Meiggs was arrested in May of 2015 following a complaint of inappropriate sexual behavior from a customer at his business, Evansville Metaphysics.

Meiggs will serve his sentence at the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Meiggs will also be placed on the sex offender registry database.

Courier & Press: Prison time handed down for rape conviction

14 WFIE: Judge sentences EVV business owner to nine years for rape

25 WEHT: Jury finds Edward Meiggs guilty of rape


— Recent Child Molestation Case to Stick with Prosecutor, Detective —

The police and prosecution accomplished what they set out to do but the recent trial and sentencing in a recent child molesting case will stick with those who sought justice for a four-year-old girl. On Thursday, 25-year-old Ryan Remling of Evansville was sentenced to a total of 79 years in prison after being convicted of molesting the victim and recording the sexual abuse on his cell phone.


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–Evansville man found guilty of manslaughter in woman’s death–

April 6, 2017: A Vanderburgh County Superior Court jury found Michael Damien Howell guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Beverly Karns.

Voluntary manslaughter is a level 2 felony punishable by up to a 30-year prison term.

The jury deliberated for five hours after four days of evidence and testimony.  Howell was also convicted of criminal recklessness, attempted robbery, and auto theft.

Courier & Press: Evansville man found guilty of manslaughter in woman’s death

14 WFIE: Verdict reached in Michael Howell murder trial

25 WEHT: Jury finds Michael Howell Guilty

44 News: Michael Howell Guilty on Four Charges


Evansville man sentenced to 79 years for child molesting, weapons charges

Evansville, IN – Vanderburgh Circuit Court Magistrate Judge Michael J. Cox sentenced 25-year-old Ryan Remling to a 79-year prison term Thursday afternoon.

In March, Remling was convicted of four counts of Child Molesting, all level 1 felonies, in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court following a two-day trial.

Remling was arrested in December of 2016 after Evansville Police Detectives were notified that videos of the incidents involving the young victim were found on Remling’s phone.

The victim was under the age of 14.Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 3.17.33 PM

“He stole choices from this little girl, that she should have had the chance to make on her own,”  explained Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Corne during the sentencing hearing.

Remling was also facing a level 4 felony charge, for possessing a deadly weapon while in custody at the Vanderburgh County Detention Center back in December of 2016.

Following the sentencing hearing on the child molestation case, Remling pleaded guilty to the weapons charge. Remling received a 4-year prison term in that case.

The 75-year term in the child molestation case and 4-year term in the weapons case, will run consecutive for a total of 79 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections.



— Former Evansville massage therapist found guilty of rape —

Following a three-day trial, a Vanderburgh County jury found Edward Meiggs guilty of rape, stemming back to an incident which occurred in May of 2015.

At that time, Meiggs owned a business called “Evansville Metaphysics” on South Green River Road.Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.21.50 AM

The victim in this case told investigators she went to that business, after she found an online coupon for a massage.

According to that victim, Meiggs forcibly performed specific sexual acts during the massage, after the victim told him, “No”.

Edward Meiggs will be sentenced on May 10th at 1:30 p.m.
The charge of rape is a level 3 felony, which carries a penalty of 3-16 years in prison.

“We wanted justice for the brave young woman in this case. We wanted justice for her family. We wanted to make sure her voice was heard,” explained Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor Javier Lugo.



April is Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Awareness month.  Deputy Prosecutor Javier Lugo and the staff at Holly’s House know the struggles of finding justice for victims in these cases.


Representatives from the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office and several other local organizations for crime victims held an event on April 8th, 2017 for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.


National Crime Victim’s Rights Week will be held April 2nd-8th in 2017, and the events shed light on vulnerable victims in our society.


Prosecutor Nick Hermann and EPD Chief Billy Bolin hold news conference over arrest in Aleah Beckerle case.

Man arrested in connection with Aleah Beckerle death

Evansville man arrested in death of disabled woman

Affidavit portrays disturbing details in Aleah Beckerle abduction, death


Prosecutors Nick Hermann and Curtis Hill express concern over pending pre-trial release program in Indiana – 14WFIE


Vanderburgh County father charged in deadly stabbing and shooting, makes first court appearance – 44 WEVV


Court advisory opinion steers towards allowing “live-tweeting” in courtrooms

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 9.36.17 AM

An advisory opinion from the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications could clear the way for journalists and citizens alike to ‘live tweet’ court proceedings as they happen. The commission’s opinion was prompted by the Vanderburgh County triple murder case of Christopher Compton who was convicted but found mentally ill in 2015. In that case, the judge permitted members of the press to live tweet court proceedings.

The following year, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld Compton’s conviction but sought insight from the judiciary on clearer guidance when it comes to social media use in the courtroom.

At issue for the Judicial Qualifications Commission was whether live tweeting or micro-blogging violated rule 2.17 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which forbids broadcasting of court proceedings. The JQC opined that tweeting did not constitute broadcasting because it is ‘qualitatively different’ than transmitting a person’s actual voice and image. However, the JQC did note that judges will still have the discretion to regulate the use of Twitter inside the courtroom so long as such regulations are considered reasonable.

“The information is going to get out either way, in my opinion,” said Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “Allowing someone to quietly tweet in a courtroom so long as it is not distracting and drawing attention is a way to make sure that the reporting is accurate.”

The commission noted that Twitter, in many respects, is similar to a reporter taking notes during a trial and then relaying those observations during a break in the proceedings.


Cracking down on child porn offenders

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Under Indiana Law, it’s illegal to download child porn, but not to stream it, but a bill passed through the Statehouse aims to help fill those cracks in the system.

Prosecutor Nick Hermann told 14 News the loophole comes into play when people watch child pornography through a streaming service.
Since they’re not downloading anything, they’re not considered in possession of it.

House Bill 1091 intends to address that issue. It passed through the house unanimously during a reading this week, backed by at least four local legislators.

“Now, there’s no cost, there’s no time and no barriers to access. Anybody that has internet can get on these sites and
can stream these things. So, it makes it more difficult,” Hermann said. “So, having this bill go through and addressing the issue from a technology standpoint, it makes sense.”

If the Bill passes the Senate, it’ll head to the Governor’s desk and could be signed into law by July 1.


Prosecutor Nick Hermann talks EPD misconduct case

Prosecutor Nick Hermann talks EPD misconduct case


Warrant issued for witness involved in mistrial; hundreds of cases could be affected


“I don’t want to say it’s a first.  But it’s certainly not the norm.”Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 3.32.07 PM

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann calling a press conference Friday afternoon to address lingering questions surrounding the Caleb Loving mistrial.

In a joint motion Wednesday morning, Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Magistrate Judge Kelli Fink declared the Loving case a mistrial.

Loving is facing charges of arson and manufacturing an explosive device for incidents that happened in July of 2015.

According to the court docket, Judge Fink declared a mistrial because a court-appointed witness got into a car crash Tuesday afternoon.  And the accuracy of the mental health reports from that witness were called into question.Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 3.31.46 PM

Prosecutor Hermann says the witness who caused the mistrial, now has a warrant out for his arrest for charges of obstruction of justice and theft.

That witness is Dr. Albert Fink, a clinical psychologist, with an office on Weinbach Avenue in Evansville.

Prosecutor Hermann says Dr. Fink is alleged to have falsified records in mental competency reports for cases in Vanderburgh County, and possibly across Indiana.

“It’s very, very rare.  But I think it’s the first time we’ve dealt with it on this scale,” explains Hermann.

When news of the mistrial came down Wednesday morning, both the defense and prosecution refused to comment on the circumstances of the decision until Friday.

Prosecutor Hermann explaining during a press conference that,” We needed time to go through our records, and determine the scope of what Dr. Fink’s actions meant to the criminal justice system.”

In the 48 hours that Prosecutor Hermann has had to digest these circumstances, his team has identified 70 cases in which Dr. Albert Fink submitted mental health competency reports.

“There’s always two court-appointed doctors who submit reports and findings.  Ultimately, it’s up to the court to determine whether an individual is competent or not for trial.  They certainly reference these doctor reports, but it’s ultimately up to the court to decide.  The court has a unique ability to do that because the court sees the defendant and interacts with the defendant at multiple times coming up to a trial.  I believe many of these cases Dr. Fink participated in, will stand.  But I do think this would provide a grounds in which you may see a challenge to some of those convictions or pleas.”

Public records through the Indiana Professional Licensing database show a history of complaints and actions taken towards Dr. Albert Fink, in both Indiana and Kentucky.

In a complaint filed in March of 1996, state authorities charged Dr. Fink with being incompetent or negligent in the practice of psychology.  Those charges based on allegations missed appointments, cursing at children, losing confidential school files, losing his temper, erratic behavior, and not following state guidelines for placement.

The complaint further explains that:

” On June 16, 1993 the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychologists entered into an agreed order with Dr. Fink to surrender his license without admitting any wrongdoing.”

Dr. Fink agreed, in a written letter, to never apply again for a psychology license in Kentucky.

In public documents, Dr. Fink testified that the board in Kentucky began an investigation into his license only after he was found not guilty of criminal battery against a child in the Lincoln County School Corporation in June of 1991.

In 1996, the Indiana State Psychology Board dismissed the complaint against Dr. Fink stating:

” Fink did not violate any statutes or regulations in the practice of psychology in the state of Indiana.”

Prosecutor Nick Hermann says during an interview with authorities following his car crash Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Fink admitted to authorities he never even met with defendants in some of the cases he submitted reports.  Prosecutor Hermann said his team was shocked when they learned of the news Wednesday morning.

“It is the mission of this office to seek truth and seek justice of criminal acts.  These actions by Dr. Fink strike at the heart of our criminal justice system.  I would like to thank all the agencies involved in this investigation for their swift, attentive, and hard work.”

With limited options for court-appointed doctors throughout Indiana, Dr. Fink has submitted reports and testified in cases across Indiana.

Prosecutor Hermann says other prosecutors in the state are combing through records, and more charges are possible for Fink.

If enough evidence exists to re-open a case, Prosecutor Hermann says it only victimizes the victim all over again.

“Defendants choose to commit crimes.  They choose to put themselves in that position.  Victims never asked for this.”

Dr. Albert Fink will be transported to the Vanderburgh County Jail, once he’s released from a hospital near Bloomington.

Copyright 2016 WFIE. All rights reserved.


Indiana governor Mike Pence’s drug task force is in full swing.

The task force met at USI on Thursday.

Vanderburgh county prosecutor Nicholas Hermann says heroin is on the rise in the Tri-State.  He thinks some of it could be coming from an unlikely source.

“There’s a lot of stories about people that start abusing prescription drugs, and can’t pay $40 a pill at some point, or don’t have access to those,” Hermann says. “That then turn around to another drug like heroine, and start using it.”High res 2 Vand Co Prosecutors Office FC Logo

Governor Pence created his drug task force in September to evaluate the growing drug problem in Indiana and the united sates. A major topic of Thursday’s meeting — gateway drugs and eliminating access to drugs. Hermann also spoke on meth abuse.  He says even now, it’s still too easy for people to cut corners when buying pseudoephedrine.

“You could come out to a college campus and say, “Hey, I’ll buy you some alcohol if you buy me some pseudoephedrine,”” Hermann says. “”Here’s 40 dollars. Go in and get me a 15 dollar package of pseudoephedrine, you can keep the change.””

According to governor Pence, enforcement and prevention aren’t the only items the task force is charged with.  Treatment is also part of the plan. Although members have admitted that this part can be difficult.

Dr. Tim Kelly specializes in internal medicine in Indianapolis.  He says drug abusers that commit crimes need to be treated, but should still learn their lesson.

“Intoxication and addiction is never an excuse for criminal behavior,” Kelly says. “And once it is, we’re hosed.”

Enforcement is where Hermann started today.  But according to him, that’s not where this task force is going to end.

“Who’s responsibility is it to give them treatment, to slap their hand when they need it, to do these types of things,” Hermann said. “It’s everybody in this room.”

The task force’s next meeting will take place on November 19th.  The location will be in central Indiana.

Governor Pence Drug Task Force meets in EVV, discussion led by Prosecutor Nick Hermann


Published on Aug 6, 2015

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann discusses Thursday’s hearing on murder suspect Paul McManus. McManus agreed to plead guilty in return for life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday in Vanderburgh Circuit Court.

In-Depth: Paul McManus decision


Drug sting nets five behind bars

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 2.31.38 PM

Is Evansville becoming a hub for drug shipments from across the country?

In the last 48 hours, arrest records show five people in Evansville were arrested for drugs and they reportedly revealed to detectives the drugs came from Atlanta, Nashville, and the West Coast.

Detectives busted three people on Tuesday, after a confidential source told them he planned to distribute shipments of meth throughout Evansville.

That meth was sent through the mail from cities on the West Coast.

That information led detectives to arrest Bill Arndell, Lisa Watson, and James Devault.

Since February 22nd, drug detectives say they’ve seized 373 grams of crystal meth.  That’s worth over $23,000 on the streets.

Prosecutor Nick Hermann says Evansville’s location makes us a one stop shop for drug dealers.

” This is a great city to live in, but it’s also a great place to bring drugs through,” explains Hermann.

” There’s lots of heroin coming down from Chicago, we see things coming up from Atlanta, and thing from Memphis.  Cocaine is obviously imported.  All these different types of drugs, they come through Evansville.”

Hermann says law enforcement recognize the need to exchange information cohesively, and that channel of information is leading to more and more busts for different agencies.

Copyright 2016 WFIE. All rights reserved.


Prosecutor Nick Hermann updates community on crime trends in Evansville on October 6th, 2015:



In-Depth: Major drug bust culminates after two year investigation

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 11.33.22 AM

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in crystal meth are taken off Tri-State streets thanks to a two year investigation involving more than 20 local and federal law enforcement agencies.
Dozens of warrants are issued targeting a major drug trafficking operation, and authorities say 74 lbs. of meth is seized in Evansville. Investigators believe most of the drugs were smuggled over the Mexican border.
The investigation started in January 2013 with tips from concerned citizens. Nearly 40 people have been arrested in total with more arrests expected in the coming days.
Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann sits down with Brad Byrd to explain how this alleged drug trafficking operation ended up in Evansville.
Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 1.53.14 PM

Prosecutor Nick Hermann says recently many people have expressed outrage that penalties for DUI cases were actually lowered last year when the criminal code changed.

This is starting to come to light now with recent fatal accidents, police say were fueled by alcohol.

Before last year, operating a vehicle under the influence causing death meant 6-to-20 years where you have to serve half the time. Now it’s 2-to-12 years where you have to serve 75 percent of the time.

On Thursday Michael Gann, who police say was four times over the legal limit when he was involved in a fatal wreck back in March, made his first court appearance.

What’s different about the case against Gann is that one accident involved three different victims.

Still very early in the process, but if Gann is found guilty, a judge will have to decide if the penalties should back-to-back or all at the same time.

Prosecutor Hermann says the state will push for consecutive sentences because all three victims, even though it was one accident, deserve justice.

“We do have three victims and we do want to pursue it and we will ask the court, if given the opportunity, that the court take a look at that and possibly put in consecutive sentences and give each victim a sense of justice,” says Hermann.

Michael Gann’s attorney said she did not wish to comment, saying it’s far too early in the process.

Gann’s next court appearance on June 8.


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Convicted murderer Jeffrey Weisheit is sentenced to death by a Clark County, Indiana judge.

Weisheit was found guilty last month of setting fire to his girlfriend’s home, killing her two young children inside back in April 2010. In addition to the two murder convictions, Weisheit was also convicted of Arson.

Weisheit was wheeled into court Thursday morning for his sentencing hearing in a wheelchair. Donning a yellow jumpsuit, handcuffed to the chair.

At the hearing both sides were allowed to speak.

The prosecutor reminded the judge that he must abide by the jurors’ decision on the death penalty. The same jurors who found Weisheit guilty unanimously recommended that he be executed. The judge is bound by the jury’s recommendation if it is unanimous.

The family will also able to make a statement to the judge and express their feelings on the case.

Lisa Lynch, mother of Caleb and Alyssa, read a long letter. Incredible emotions as she told the court about her children.

Weisheit joins 12 other Indiana prison inmates currently on death row. He is scheduled to receive lethal injection on June 19, 2014 in Michigan City.

Of the 94 inmates sentenced to death in Indiana since 1977, 20 have been executed. Sixteen of those executions came after the defendants exhausted all appeals.

Read the full death sentence order here.