Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 30, 2013

Top 10 area crime stories of 2013

Homicides, fatal crashes, others made the top 10 list.

By Mike Fletcher Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Two homicides, a Kokomo investment adviser who killed himself in the wake of bilking millions from investors and a police raid of a medical clinic highlighted the year of crime in the Kokomo area for 2013.

Schwartz ends his own life

Richard Schwartz, who built his business in Kokomo, made local, state and national headlines when he shot himself Aug. 23 at his Simpsonville, Ky., home, after first attempting to kill his wife.

Police were called to the Schwartz home, 2000 Todds Point Road, Simpsonville, on a report of shots fired. When they arrived, they found Schwartz dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The ensuing investigation prompted state officials to file an emergency petition in October to freeze some of Schwartz’s assets alleging he was running a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme involving a number of investors from Kokomo and around the country.

Schwartz, well-known from his billboards around Kokomo, ran RAS Associates, 1932 S. Dixon Road, which billed itself as an investment firm.

Wagoner doctors arrested

Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann filed a total of 95 felony charges in April against nine employees of the Wagoner Medical Clinic in Kokomo and Burlington following an intense investigation by the Kokomo Police Department, Howard County Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI and the Indiana office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Kokomo Police, assisted by the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, arrested Dr. Don Wagoner, Dr. Marilyn Wagoner, Dr. William Terpstra, and physician assistants, Gary Hartman, Thomas Hewitt, nurse Linda Richards and office manager Michelle Wagoner. Dr. Robert Brewer and Physician Assistant John Thomas were charged but not arrested.

The Wagoners’ case is pending a March 7 jury trial in Howard Superior Court 1.

Fatal hit-and-run crash kills teen

On Sept. 12, a driver of a pickup truck failed to stop after hitting a mo-ped driven by two teens at Center Road and Highland Springs Drive.

The tragic accident killed 13-year-old Christian Reede, 13, and seriously injured Donte Brown, 13.

The driver, Randall Rector, 58, failed to stop after the crash and was arrested a week and half later after police say he tried to commit suicide.

Rector faces a Class C felony reckless homicide charge, a Class C felony leaving the scene of an accident causing death and Class D felony leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury in the case.

Rector is awaiting a Feb. 11 jury trial.

Woman found dead in her home

Kokomo police continue to investigate the Feb. 7 shooting death of 21-year-old Destiny Pittman at 815 James Dr.

The homicide was the first one of 2013 and remains unsolved.

Police believe Pittman was shot by one of two intruders who broke into her home.

When officers arrived, Pittman was found unconscious and unresponsive suffering from a gunshot wound to her torso.

Police said Pittman lived in the home with her boyfriend and said another female and two young children were in the home when the shooting occurred. They were not injured.

Man found dead in downtown street

City road construction workers found the body of Robert Patmon, 32, Michigan, Aug. 30 lying in the street on Longview Drive, just east of downtown.

Patmon died of a gunshot wound to the back. Police issued a murder warrant Aug. 31 for Anthony Dunn. He was arrested Sept.12 in Flint, Mich., and remains jailed awaiting an April 15 jury trial.

Schultes die in car crash in Seattle

Two longtime Howard County educators were killed March 25 in Seattle by a suspected drunken driver.

Dennis and Judy Schulte were killed when Mark W. Mullan, 50, of Washington, drove his pickup into a group of pedestrians crossing a street near Eckstein Middle School in northern Seattle, the Seattle Times reported.

The couple’s daughter-in-law, Karina Ulricksen-Schulte, and 10-day-old grandson, Elias, also were struck and critically injured.

Judy Schulte, 68, retired as director of guidance at Northwestern High School in 2008 after 19 years, and Dennis, 66, taught math at and retired from Western High School in 2006 after 33 years. Dennis also served as assistant coach for the wrestling squad and football team at Western.

Mullan was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison in November.

Prominent Kokomo attorney killed

Vernard L. Johnson died March 22 after he was hit by a car near his home on West Boulevard in Kokomo.

Kokomo police said a vehicle driven by David Rogers, 42, Kokomo, was traveling west in the 2600 block of West Boulevard at around 6:35 a.m. and struck the 76-year-old man. Johnson was transported to St. Joseph Hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries. Rogers was not charged in the crash.

Johnson practiced law in Kokomo for more than 30 years as a civil and criminal defense attorney and served as the deputy public defender for child support cases.

Strip club owner charged

Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann charged Dan Dumoulin II, the owner of three area strip clubs, in September, with a number of charges including corrupt business influence.

Kokomo Police investigators said at least 20 sexual contacts between a confidential informant and dancers at Big Daddy’s Show Club and Little Daddy’s Show Club formed the basis of charges.

Dumoulin, 40, faces six felony charges of promoting prostitution and two felony charges of corrupt business influence accusing him of taking a cut of the proceeds every time a dancer lured a patron into one of his clubs’ private rooms.

The case is on hold pending the outcome of a change of venue hearing scheduled for Feb. 11.

Mom arrested in murder plot

In August, Kokomo police arrested Christy Shaffer on a Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder allegedly plotting to kill her daughter’s boyfriend.

According to the charging information filed in Howard Superior Court 2, Shaffer asked a friend to find someone to kill the man because he had been battering her daughter. Her friend then called police.

When questioned by police, Shaffer initially said she wanted the man beat up for hurting her daughter. She then admitted she offered payment to have the man killed, according to court records.

Shaffer is set to stand trial in February. If convicted, she could get between 20 and 50 years in prison.

Woman stabs father

In August, Kokomo police arrested Meranda White after she allegedly stabbed her 60-year-old father once in the chest at his home.

The father, Steven White, survived the stabbing.

Officers were called shortly after 6 a.m. to a residence in the 2100 block of East Vaile Avenue to a report of Meranda White causing a disturbance and stabbing her father.

White faces aggravated battery, criminal recklessness and two counts of mischief. She was released from jail Nov. 27, with the conditions she seek mental treatment. A possible plea bargain is set for Jan. 8 in her case.