City of Linton Honors Fallen Police Officer: Proclaims Feb. 7, 2015 as Fred Cromwell Day

Linton Police Officer Paul Clark, middle, sharing information about his research regarding the death of Fred Cromwell. Police Chief Troy Jerrell, at right, and Mayor John Wilkes, at left, also spoke during the honorary reception.

On Friday, Linton City Hall was the site of an honorary reception for the only Linton Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Linton Mayor John Wilkes read a proclamation establishing Saturday, Feb. 7 as Fred Cromwell Day. Cromwell was killed in the line of duty 100 years ago after serving six days with the local department. He also served as the fire chief prior to serving as an officer.

Linton Police Chief Troy Jerrell thanked the packed room for the show of support regarding the proclamation.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support. This is what the small community is all about,” he said.

“[We] had never came across this information… I almost didn’t believe it at first,” Jerrell added, noting Linton Police Officer Paul Clark researched the matter.

Officer Clark then explained that all law enforcement officers make many sacrifices, but Cromwell is the only Linton Police Officer to have lost his life in the line of duty.

“Everyone here has made many sacrifices, but no one here has lost their lives,” Clark explained, noting his goal in researching the matter was to find out what really happened to Cromwell.

“I believe that sacrifices need to be recognized. People need to know that this sacrifice was made,” Clark also said.

During his research, Clark discovered several newspaper articles about the incident.

One such article from the Cincinnati Enquirer, noted Cromwell was shot and killed by two burglars whom he detected in the clothing store of Louis Friedman on Feb. 7, 1915. According to the same article, bloodhounds, owned by the Linton Police Department, lost the trail about three miles southeast of Linton, where the burglars stole two horses from James Reed, a farmer living in Lyons.

Another such article, from the Indianapolis News, noted that Cromwell was killed instantly during a revolver fight at the store. Furthermore, the article states Cromwell, a night policeman, was shot in the head and stomach and that his revolver displayed three empty cartridges. There were no witnesses to the scene, but persons aroused by the sound of shots, noted two men running away from the store. The robbers, in their flight, dropped a bag containing 13 pairs of shoes.

Frank Toricelli was arrested by police in Los Angeles in connection with Cromwell’s murder in March, 1915. He was later charged with the murder of Cromwell and served life in prison.

Saturday, Feb. 7 marked 100 years since Cromwell’s death.

Several members of Cromwell’s family were present during the proclamation reading. Becky Yung, Cromwell’s granddaughter, was one of them.

She explained that the story of her grandfather was well-known within the family, but that through Clark’s research additional details were uncovered.

“We learned that [Cromwell] was apprehended and sentenced to prison – that part we did not know,” Yung explained.

City of Linton Honors Fallen Police Officer: Proclaims Feb. 7, 2015 as Fred Cromwell Day

Linton Police Officer Paul Clark, middle, sharing information about his research regarding the death of Fred Cromwell. Police Chief Troy Jerrell, at right, and Mayor John Wilkes, at left, also spoke during the honorary reception.

On Friday, Linton City Hall was the site of an honorary reception for the only Linton Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Linton Mayor John Wilkes read a proclamation establishing Saturday, Feb. 7 as Fred Cromwell Day. Cromwell was killed in the line of duty 100 years ago after serving six days with the local department. He also served as the fire chief prior to serving as an officer.

Linton Police Chief Troy Jerrell thanked the packed room for the show of support regarding the proclamation.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support. This is what the small community is all about,” he said.

“[We] had never came across this information… I almost didn’t believe it at first,” Jerrell added, noting Linton Police Officer Paul Clark researched the matter.

Officer Clark then explained that all law enforcement officers make many sacrifices, but Cromwell is the only Linton Police Officer to have lost his life in the line of duty.

“Everyone here has made many sacrifices, but no one here has lost their lives,” Clark explained, noting his goal in researching the matter was to find out what really happened to Cromwell.

“I believe that sacrifices need to be recognized. People need to know that this sacrifice was made,” Clark also said.

During his research, Clark discovered several newspaper articles about the incident.

One such article from the Cincinnati Enquirer, noted Cromwell was shot and killed by two burglars whom he detected in the clothing store of Louis Friedman on Feb. 7, 1915. According to the same article, bloodhounds, owned by the Linton Police Department, lost the trail about three miles southeast of Linton, where the burglars stole two horses from James Reed, a farmer living in Lyons.

Another such article, from the Indianapolis News, noted that Cromwell was killed instantly during a revolver fight at the store. Furthermore, the article states Cromwell, a night policeman, was shot in the head and stomach and that his revolver displayed three empty cartridges. There were no witnesses to the scene, but persons aroused by the sound of shots, noted two men running away from the store. The robbers, in their flight, dropped a bag containing 13 pairs of shoes.

Frank Toricelli was arrested by police in Los Angeles in connection with Cromwell’s murder in March, 1915. He was later charged with the murder of Cromwell and served life in prison.

Saturday, Feb. 7 marked 100 years since Cromwell’s death.

Several members of Cromwell’s family were present during the proclamation reading. Becky Yung, Cromwell’s granddaughter, was one of them.

She explained that the story of her grandfather was well-known within the family, but that through Clark’s research additional details were uncovered.

“We learned that [Cromwell] was apprehended and sentenced to prison – that part we did not know,” Yung explained.

Linton Resident Arrested after Alleged Altercation in Motel Room

jordan sharp

Jordan M. Sharp was arrested last Friday on a warrant that was issued the previous day.

At around 6 a.m. on Feb. 25, Linton Police Department Officer Paul Clark responded to Allen’s Motel in Linton. He met with Sharp’s girlfriend, who told him that she and Sharp had been out drinking the night before, and that she had returned to their motel room alone and gone to sleep. The woman stated that an intoxicated Sharp woke her up by entering the room and accusing her of infidelity before taking her phone.

She said that when she tried to keep Sharp from taking her phone he grabbed her from behind and put his arm across her neck, choking her. She stated that she could not breathe and that he also struck her in the face with a closed fist, which caused her nose to bleed.

Sharp allegedly struck her in the side of her abdomen, as well, and caused damage to the room and property inside of it before taking the woman’s phone and leaving.

Clark stated in a probable cause affidavit that he called the number of the phone the woman reported stolen and reached a man who identified himself as Sharp. The man said he was at a friend’s residence and was injured because of being battered by the woman. He allegedly admitted to taking her phone and agreed to explain the incident at the police department, but never did so.

Sharp, 26, is charged with theft, a class D felony, strangulation, a class D felony, and battery resulting in bodily injury, a class A misdemeanor.

Updated: Randal E. Crosley Sentenced to 81 Years

Randal Crosley

Original article posted March 4, 2:16 p.m.

On Tuesday afternoon in the Greene Superior Court, Judge Dena Martin sentenced Randal E. Crosley to 81 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.  The maximum sentence Crosley could have received was 85 years, and during the sentencing hearing Martin told him that not only was a hefty sentence appropriate, showing much leniency would endanger the community.

In February, Crosley entered a guilty plea for the murder of 19-year-old Katelyn Wolfe in June of last year.  He also admitted to conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit rape, criminal confinement with use of a vehicle, and dealing a schedule IV controlled substance.

In early December, Jordan W. Buskirk entered guilty pleas for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit rape, and criminal confinement.  Tuesday, Buskirk testified at Crosley’s sentencing hearing.

Buskirk told the court he met Crosley on a school bus in junior high, and described Crosley as being his “best friend” and “like a brother”.  He said Crosley lived with him multiple times and that they usually saw each other daily.

Crosley later spent short periods living in New York and near Indianapolis, but Buskirk stated that after he moved back from Indianapolis around a year-and-a-half ago they became close again– even working together shaping dumpster lids for Futurex for one to one-and-a-half weeks.

“It kind of cut into some drugs,” Buskirk said of the short employment.  “We were wanting to sell drugs instead of working.”

He admitted to buying synthetic marijuana in Terre Haute and then selling it, along with Crosley, over a period of around four to five months before they were arrested.  Buskirk also stated that they sold “a little real marijuana” and occasionally pills, although he added that he did not like selling pills because he had been addicted to them while working in a coal mine.

Buskirk explained that they both smoked marijuana and that they used synthetic marijuana on a daily basis.

“We’d wake up and I’d shower, go to his house, and the first thing we’d do is smoke a synthetic joint and go from there,” he recalled.

Buskirk said that while he had sold Wolfe marijuana a couple of times and “got her high” he did not know her personally, noting that he tried to hang out with her but it never really went anywhere so he gave up.

During May or June of last year, he said that he and Crosley were smoking synthetic marijuana when they started talking about finding a woman to rape and murder– something that just “popped into our heads”.  The two men later transitioned from discussing the possibility to buying items to use during the crime.  Buskirk stated that they did not have Katelyn in mind as a victim, and had talked about the possibility of targeting a homeless person in Terre Haute.

“It was a joke at first and then once we started smoking more the drug took over– for me, at least,” he explained, adding that at first he was afraid they would not get away with the crime.  But the more he smoked, the more confident he became, and eventually the pair travelled to Terre Haute to purchase items such as handcuffs, an anal plug, straps, rope, and an anchor to use in the rape and murder.

Buskirk stated they purchased a 20-pound anchor to dispose of their victim in a body of water, and recalled asking Crosley how much weight he thought they would need to hold a body down.

On June 5, Buskirk said the pair met Wolfe at a laundromat in Linton around 8 p.m. in order to sell her valium pills.  He noted that they still did not have Wolfe in mind for their crime, even when she told them she would get a hold of them if she needed more.

The men went to Terre Haute to buy more synthetic marijuana and then drove around getting high before they decided to go to a strip club.  Buskirk told the court they stopped in a Walmart to buy shirts, since they did not want to wear their work shirts to the club.  Eventually, however, they decided the strip club was a waste of money and after Crosley and Wolfe texted back and forth about another meeting they headed back to Linton to sell her more valium.

Buskirk said they began considering Wolfe as a target during that drive.

They picked her up around midnight and headed towards Midland to “country cruise” and get high.  Buskirk stated that he was driving, with Crosley in the passenger seat and Wolfe sitting in back.  He said Wolfe did not know where Crosley lived, and that they pretended they were going to pick up his wife.

He said they made three stops where he and Crosley both exited the car, “to see if we were going to do it”.  According to Buskirk, they knew they were not at the first two stops, and the third stop was not “the spot”.

Then they stopped again, and popped the trunk to access the handcuffs and duct tape.

Buskirk said he climbed on top of her in the backseat and she “seemed kind of shocked” but did not scream until Crosley opened the other car door.  He stated that Wolfe fought Crosley as he tried to pull her out of the car and began duct taping her mouth shut, eventually placing her in a chokehold.

Buskirk told the court that when Wolfe was handcuffed, with a shirt duct taped over her head, he took a couple of steps back while Crosley struck her.

‘I don’t know how many times he punched her in the face or in the head,” he said.

Next, he stated that Crosley used Wolfe’s phone to send texts and access her Facebook account, telling Buskirk that he was “making an alibi”.  Buskirk said both men worried she had texted someone about being with them, and that when they asked her if her dad knew where she was at, she nodded.

Buskirk told the court he did not believe anyone knew where she was, and stopped questioning her after asking if she was scared and being unable to understand her answer.

He said the last thing Crosley told Wolfe was that he was the bogeyman.

Buskirk then strangled her by wrapping a rope around her neck several times, “until she stopped moving”.

The murder took place on a county road that was heavily wooded on both sides, and afterwards they put Wolfe’s body in the trunk and drove around smoking synthetic marijuana, eventually stopping to retie her in a fetal position to prepare for throwing her body in the water.  At around 3 a.m. they arrived at a body of water Buskirk believed would be deep enough for their purposes.

Buskirk stated that after Wolfe’s body was removed from the trunk, Crosley kicked her down a hill and into shrubs, causing her to hit her head on something that may have been a stump.  Crosley then tossed her in the water and Buskirk used a flashlight to make sure her body was concealed.

The men went back to the car and left the area.  Buskirk said that Crosley broke Wolfe’s phone into pieces he disposed of in different locations, and burned her Sim card in Buskirk’s car.

Later, the pair sold some drugs and then stopped at a gas station to check for hair or blood in the trunk.  While there, Buskirk stated that he disposed of the shirt he was wearing and replaced it with the one he bought to visit the strip club.  Then they drove to Terre Haute to buy more synthetic marijuana.

Buskirk said they slept at some point during the day of June 6, and then went back to the lake to make sure Wolfe’s body was still submerged before driving to Terre Haute for more drugs.  Law enforcement officials and Wolfe’s father tried calling Crosley, but Buskirk told the court that Crosley was afraid to speak with them.  Crosley’s wife then called to tell him the police were at his house, so the men went to Crosley’s home.

Officers searched and then impounded Buskirk’s car, and took them to the police station.  Buskirk said he lied to Detective Sergeant Josh Goodman and Officer Paul Clark, of the Linton Police Department, about knowing Wolfe’s whereabouts.  He was then released, but the next day officers told him they had proof he had been with Crosley and Wolfe.

Buskirk asked for an attorney, and agreed to take a polygraph test on June 10.  He failed the test when he was asked if he “did anything to that woman”.  After talking to his attorney and learning Wolfe’s body had been found, he said he decided to make a confession.

“That whole weekend was a living hell for me,” Buskirk stated.

County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw then asked Buskirk about the keys to the handcuffs they used on Wolfe, and Buskirk replied that on June 6 Crosley gave him one of the two keys and told him he was keeping the other as a souvenir.  Buskirk added that he wiped the prints off his key and threw it into a lake by Crosley’s house.

Crosley’s attorney, Alan K. Baughman, requested that Buskirk explain how he protected Crosley when they became friends in the 8th grade.  Buskirk said Crosley was living with a foster family and when he got on the school bus other kids would make fun of the way the foster kids smelled, so he offered Crosley a seat next to him.

“There was stuff he didn’t really tell me until recently,” Buskirk explained of Crosley’s childhood, which he spent moving in and out of foster homes from a young age.  “He had a pretty rough time as a child.”

Buskirk later told Baughman that he wished he would have said that he did not want to kill Wolfe, or that Crosley would have changed his mind about it.  He stated that at the time he did not know what Crosley would think of him if he did not want to follow through on their plans.

LPD Detective Sergeant Josh Goodman testified that when he spoke with Crosley at the police department he asked Crosley if he had any weapons and Crosley said no, turning out his pockets and causing a handcuff key to fall out.  He said that Crosley told him the key was for handcuffs, but also said that he had met with Wolfe at 8 p.m. on the day she disappeared but had not seen her again.

Goodman explained that phone records for Crosley, Buskirk, and Wolfe showed that their phones had been together later that night and early the next day, though, and that Buskirk then admitted to picking her up a second time and dropping her off in Sullivan.  Crosley, he said, stuck to his story about only meeting up with her earlier that night.

Officers obtained video surveillance from the stores in Terre Haute where the two men bought items to use for rape and murder.

“In the video you can see them smiling, apparently having a good time,” Goodman noted of the shopping trips.

Video from the gas station they stopped at after Wolfe’s murder showed, among other things, Buskirk changing shirts and throwing the one he had been wearing away.  Later, officers discovered that the key Crosley had in his pocket fit the handcuffs on Wolfe’s body.  Wolfe’s DNA was discovered on samples of the shirt Crosley wore the night she was murdered, and on stains inside of Buskirk’s trunk.

At that point in the sentencing hearing, Wolfe’s aunt, Beth Wolfe, addressed Crosley, telling him that she had been waiting for the moment to talk to the person who murdered her niece.

“Learning about this case, the only motive I have ever heard is that you just wanted to know what it feels like to rape and murder someone,” she said.  “It just popped into your head.”

She then asked him to look her in the eye, telling Crosley that he used his hands and a rope to kill Katelyn so he could be close to her and feel her die– all because he was curious.

“Kate’s life is gone, but the rest of us have to find our way through this nightmare,” she stated, describing the need to tell Katelyn’s father when to eat and shower after his daughter was found dead.  She added that Crosley had left “a mountain” behind for Katelyn’s brothers to climb.

“I will never get to see [my husband] lift her off the ground when they hug, because she was so tiny,” Beth Wolfe told Crosley.  “We are all changed in the most profound way.”

She said it did not matter if he pled guilty or not, because it would not bring her niece back, and stressed the fact that her niece’s name was not written on the equipment they used to kill her, but that anyone’s name could have been written on it– because they were just curious.

“Did you feel powerful?” she asked.  “Did you feel invincible?  Did you feel like the bogeyman?”

She stated that she did not think he fulfilled his curiosity about raping and murdering someone because he did not get to rape Katelyn, and that she believed he was on his way to becoming a serial killer.

“Kate was a badass,” she told Crosley.  “She bit and kicked and tried to get away.”

Beth Wolfe said the only reason Crosley did not rape her niece was because Katelyn Wolfe would not let it happen, and that by denying him that Katelyn saved him from the death penalty.

“The irony of that is that while you were taking Kate’s life, she was saving yours,” she added before asking that Crosley receieve the maximum sentence the state would allow.

Baughman called Crosley’s sister to testify about his childhood, noting that the woman had tried to avoid the scrutiny of the press and the public, and that she was there because he had subpoenaed her testimony.

“It was not a good situation.  We were in and out of foster homes all the time since I can remember,” she told the court, stating that between the ages of three and 11 she was in 12 to 13 different foster homes in between brief stays with either her mother or father.

She stated that her brother’s relationship with their father was not good and that their father physically abused Crosley.  She said she remembered a time when her father picked Crosley up and threw him into a standing tool box, breaking his nose, and that life with their mother involved a lack of adequate food, multiple animals, and being forced to wear clothes with feces on them to school.  She also told the court that despite a teacher who would try to help Crosley by cleaning him up and putting clean clothes on him, he was tormented because of his living conditions.

The woman said she had no knowledge of Crosley being violent and did not believe he would ever commit another crime in the future.

Katelyn Wolfe’s father, Eric Wolfe, was the next to speak at the sentencing.  He read a statement written by his mother, which described Katelyn’s love of writing and painting before alleging that “animals do not treat their prey the way these two monsters did our Kate”.

Eric Wolfe then told Crosley that he did not see any tears out of him while he listened to Katelyn’s aunt’s statement.

“They say we’re supposed to forgive, but I won’t,” he said to the defendant, adding that he does not believe time heals all wounds.  “ I believe that we find a way to get through it, but it never heals.”

He then played a DVD slideshow featuring pictures of his daughter, which Crosley watched with apparent calm while the sounds of crying could be heard throughout the courtroom.

“It’s amazing to me that you can sit there and not cry,” Eric Wolfe told him.  “Everybody in here just loves her to death and will love her forever.”

He added that he saw no remorse from Crosley.

Judge Martin reviewed documents Baughman submitted on Crosley’s home life as a child, and then Holtsclaw gave her a list of aggravating circumstances to consider when sentencing Crosley.

Holtsclaw specified a history of criminal behavior and a violated condition of pretrial release on another matter, noting that Crosley was wanted on a warrant at the time of his arrest for Wolfe’s murder.  He stressed that the attack on Wolfe was planned for days if not weeks and that the defendant not only did not change his mind in that time period, but also used his relationship with Wolfe to lure her to her death.

Holtsclaw reminded the court that Wolfe was driven to a remote area by two drug dealers, attacked and bound, and tormented with a bogeyman comment while fighting for her life.

“It’s the worst thing I’ve had to deal with in the 16 years I’ve been a prosecutor,” he stated.

Holtsclaw said he could not give a better reason for a life sentence than Beth Wolfe did, noting that Wolfe was essentially killed for sport or entertainment and that Crosley then kept the keys to her handcuffs as a souvenir.  He lamented the fact that he did not have the power to secure the death penalty for Crosley, despite attempting to do so, and again stated that despite having plenty of time, Crosley did not change his mind about following through with Wolfe’s murder.

Holtsclaw also said that while Crosley did admit his guilt, he did not have much choice in the matter due to the amount of evidence that would have been used against him in trial.  He then asked Martin to issue Crosley the maximum penalty allowed– 85 years of imprisonment.

Baughman, however, told Martin that the age of his client, the fact that Crosley has a child, and his client’s horrendous childhood should all be mitigating factors in his sentencing.

“There were things in that home that no child should have to go through,” he stated.

He also noted that a report from the probation department contained statements proving that Crosley showed remorse, and that Crosley took responsibility for his crime by admitting his guilt instead of putting Wolfe’s family through the long ordeal of a trial.  Baughman said any delay in his client taking responsibility was due to his own duty to first investigate the case.

Baughman then told the court that Crosley’s criminal history only consisted of a misdemeanor conviction and another matter that has not resulted in a conviction at all, and that he recommended a minimum sentence for the murder count.

Martin prepared to issue Crosley’s sentence by first addressing the Wolfe family.

“Most days I love my job,” she told the group.  “Today is not one of those, because no matter what I do, I can’t bring Katelyn back.”

Martin said she was sorry for the fact that no one could bring Wolfe back to them, before explaining that the purpose of the sentencing hearing was to consider all the circumstances of the case and decide what was appropriate for sentences.

She told Crosley that while it is true he is 25 and by no means elderly, he is also not ten and was old enough to know right from wrong at the time of his crime.  As to having a child who would grow up without a father, she stated, “It’s not because of me.  It’s because of what you did.”

Martin said that while she would give him some credit for admitting his guilt, he did so knowing that the prosecutor had an awfully good case against him.

“Even a very poor childhood does not give you an excuse or validation to take a human life,” she added before telling Crosley that the mitigating factor she had the most time agreeing with was his remorse.

She told Crosley that she had been watching him during his court appearances, and that the only time she saw him shed a tear was while his sister spoke during the sentencing hearing.

“You may be feeling bad,” she said, “but I have a sneaky suspicion it’s because you’re sitting there.”

Martin also noted that he has a criminal history and was participating in drugs at the time of his arrest– recalling the fact that he seemed to be proud when admitting to dealing drugs in his initial hearing.

She stated that the circumstances and extent of the crime, involving a plan that was thought up over an extended period of time, were very important factors for her, and likened his deliberations about how to rape and kill someone to an average person considering whether they would see a movie.

“That’s just scary,” she told Crosley before adding that targeting a friend who trusted him and discarding her in a body of water he had done some research on was another big aggravating factor.

Martin called it a cold, calculated scheme, and referred to the crime as evil in nature.

“It was a heinous offense that you thought about and thought about and did and then tried to cover up,” she said.

Martin then sentenced Crosley to within four years of the maximum sentence the law would allow, adding that the community is not safe with him on the streets.

Greene County Drug Task Force Investigation Leads to Arrests in Linton

Mickey Tosti

The Linton Police Department served numerous warrants for drug-related offenses early Tuesday morning.

The arrests were due to an ongoing Greene County Drug Task Force Investigation led by Detective Joshua Goodman.

At around 12 a.m., Investigating Officer Paul Clark served Mickey L. Tosti, 61, with a warrant issued for three counts of dealing methamphetamine. According to an LPD news release, Tosti and others fled to the back of the Linton residence and attempted to destroy potential evidence. Officers entered the home to try to prevent the loss of evidence, and allegedly located numerous drug-related items in plain view.

Officers then obtained and executed a search warrant for the home.

Linton resident Brandon S. Missel, 30, was allegedly found hiding underneath the house. Missel was wanted on a warrant for dealing in a controlled substance.

55-year-old Juan R. Rodriguez, Jr. was taken into custody at Linton’s mobile manor at around 3:30 a.m. He was also wanted on a warrant for dealing in a controlled substance.

Officer Nick Yingling, Greene County Sheriff’s Department Deputies Jeffrey Brown and Harvey Holt, and Jasonville Police Department Detective Ryan Van Horn assisted.

40-Year-Old Charged with Domestic Battery

michael boulanger

Early Sunday morning, Linton Police Department Officers Thomas Jerrels and Paul Clark responded to a Linton residence regarding a domestic disturbance.

Forty-year-old Michael K. Boulanger, Jr., allegedly told the officers that he had been in an argument with his wife because he had been out consuming alcohol with his friends instead of being at home with her and her juvenile child.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the woman said Boulanger was being belligerent when he came home from drinking with a friend, and that an argument began because of his behavior towards her. She stated that he began throwing kitchen items and cleared the coffee table off with his arm before attempting to destroy her piano.

She told the officers that when she tried to leave the room Boulanger grabbed her by the hair and slammed her to the floor and that she was gasping for air when she hit the ground.

Jerrels stated in the court document that he observed a large swollen area on her head.

The juvenile said he woke up when the woman yelled, and that during the argument Boulanger had her pinned to the floor and hit or kicked her.

Jerrels observed that the contents of the living room table had been flung across the living room, that there were numerous items thrown into the kitchen sink, and that damage to the drywall behind the piano seemed to have been made by the edges of the instrument. He stated that he believed the damage supported the woman’s statement.

Boulanger allegedly told Jerrels that he tried to go to bed when the argument became heated, but that the woman went into the bedroom and began throwing objects at him, including a piano bench. He then reportedly stated that he did not strike her, but did shove her away.

Boulanger is charged with domestic battery in the presence of a child less than 16, a class D felony.

Linton Woman Faces Preliminary Charges of Theft, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Law Enforcement

submitted photo

Angel R. Walls, 29, of Linton, was arrested and preliminarily charged with theft, resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct on Feb. 15 at the Roosevelt Mission.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Linton Police Officer Nick Yingling was made aware of the theft of a cell phone during a routine investigation. At the time, the victim reported that Walls stole the phone from his residence.

According to the court document, Yingling located Walls at the Roosevelt Mission in Linton, but she denied having the cell phone. At this point, Indiana State Trooper Richard Klun was called in to assist. At the time, Walls asked if she was going to jail and Yingling replied that she would not go to jail if she produced the phone. Walls continued to deny having the phone. She was then advised of her Pirtle warning and immediately refused consent to search.

Yingling and Klun continued to investigate the matter and further questioned the victim. According to the court document, Walls had asked the victim to borrow some money and the victim was going to comply with the request. According to the victim, Walls was at his residence at the time of the request, but suddenly left. Shortly after her leaving, the victim then realized that his Motorola flip cell phone was gone from its charger, $45 was missing from his wallet, $102 was missing from a box in his bedroom, and $80 was missing from his coffee table. The victim also reported that no one else had been at the residence.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the victim also told officers that while at the American Legion a woman had told him that a random female was calling her from his phone. The victim then told the woman that his phone had been stolen.

Officers then conducted an investigation with the woman. The woman reported that she received two calls from the victim’s phone and both times the caller was a female. The woman also reported knowing the victim and noted she had his phone number saved as a contact in her phone. The woman also noted that she called the victim’s phone and that she spoke with a female. During the conversation, the woman asked if she was speaking to Angel Walls and the female replied that she was Angel Walls. The woman then asked Walls if she had stolen the phone, but Walls hung up on her.

At this point, Officers Yingling and Klun along with Officer Thomas Jerrels returned to the Roosevelt Mission to find Walls. According to the court document, Walls was told that a witness had reportedly spoken with her on the victim’s phone, but Walls continued to deny having the phone and began cursing and yelling. Walls allegedly continued to act erratically, was uncooperative, and was then detained by Officer Jerrels. She was then advised of her Miranda Rights and waived her right to remain silent. Officer Paul Clark was then called on scene to assist.

Officers continued to search for the phone as well as conducted interviews with residents at the Roosevelt Mission. Walls reportedly continued to become agitated and was made to sit down by Officer Yingling. Walls also continued cursing and refused to calm down even after being told she would be arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement.

According to the court document, the phone was then found under the bed of a resident. At this time, Walls was asked why she stole the phone and replied that she didn’t have any minutes on her phone and needed to talk to people. The phone was verified to be the victim’s.

Walls faces the following preliminary charges: Theft, a class D felony; resisting law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor; and disorderly conduct, a class B misdemeanor.

Linton Man Charged with Auto Theft, Criminal Mischief

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William J. Rose, 33, is accused of stealing a car and destroying his ex-wife’s property.

On Thursday, a woman told Investigating Officer Paul Clark, of the Linton Police Department, that she and the suspect finalized their divorce that day. She said that she and Rose had an argument Thursday evening and that he began cutting up her clothing with a large knife.

The woman stated that Rose also took her gold Dodge Caravan without permission, and damaged the front window.

According to an LPD news release, Officer Thomas Jerrels found Rose driving the Caravan.  The knife that was allegedly used to damage the woman’s clothing was inside the vehicle.

Rose is preliminarily charged with auto theft, a class D felony, and criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor. His bond was set at $4,500 with an optional amount of $450 (ten percent).

Carlisle Man Preliminarily Charged with Stalking, Criminal Mischief

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Isaac C. Hale was arrested Thursday after allegedly breaking a window at a Linton residence.

The owner of the residence told Linton Police Department Officer Nick Yingling that Hale, 25, knocked at her front door around 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

According to an LPD news release, the woman said she then contacted her ex-husband, since Hale was looking for him. Hale allegedly told her ex-husband that he and his buddies were waiting on him.

The woman stated that she took the phone from Hale and then became involved in a verbal confrontation with him and told him to leave.

She said she was standing in the living room when she heard Hale break a window in her children’s bedroom.

Sergeant Chad Crynes and Officers Paul Clark, Tom Jerrels, and Jason Wilson assisted at the scene, and located the small Coleman propane bottle allegedly used to break the window.

Hale is preliminarily charged with stalking, a class D felony, and criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor.

Linton Man Arrested on Warrant, Facing 9 Charges

Gregory Turner

Gregory S. Turner, 43, was arrested on a warrant Monday.

Just before 1 a.m. on November 2nd, Turner was driving east on State Road 54 near 7th Street NE when Linton Police Department Officer Paul Clark noticed that he appeared to be speeding. Turner was allegedly driving 43 mph in a 35 mph zone when he drove past 9th Street and swerved out of the eastbound lane of the highway and onto 9th street before abruptly swerving back onto State Road 54. Clark stated in a court document that after he activated his lights and sirens to stop the vehicle Turner did not immediately stop but instead turned south onto 11th Street NE.

Clark followed the vehicle to a residence on 12th Street SE, at which point Turner exited the vehicle and allegedly refused to comply with his orders. LPD Officer Thomas Jerrels arrived to assist Clark, and Clark stated that when Turner would not obey his verbal orders and appeared to be turning to walk towards the residence he attempted to restrain him.

Clark and Jerrels tried to handcuff Turner, but Turner attempted to pull his hands away. Clark said that after a brief struggle they were able to restrain him, and then requested medical assistance since Turner was bleeding from his nose.

Jerrels used his police dog to conduct a free air sniff of the vehicle, and advised Clark that his dog had alerted around the driver’s side of the vehicle. The following day, LPD Officer Chad Crynes searched the vehicle and found a hand-rolled cigarette containing what he believed to be marijuana.

After Turner received medical treatment, Clark had him empty his pockets and found that he had a cellophane wrapper containing what he believed to be marijuana.

Turner is charged with:

  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated, endangering a person: a class A misdemeanor
  • Three counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, with a prior conviction: a class D felony
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated: a class C misdemeanor
  • Operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to .15 or more: a class A misdemeanor
  • Resisting law enforcement using a vehicle: a class D felony
  • Resisting law enforcement: a class A misdemeanor
  • Possession of marijuana/hashish, a class A misdemeanor

 

Jasonville Resident Accused of Fracturing Man’s Skull

Ronald Fox

Ronald E. Fox II, 48, was arrested Wednesday on a warrant for a charge of battery committed by means of a deadly weapon or resulting in serious bodily injury, a class C felony, after allegedly fracturing another man’s skull in November of last year.

Early on the morning of November 29, the Jasonville Police Department received a report of a fight involving multiple people. Linton Police Department Officer Paul Clark responded to the residence on South Lawton Street first and spoke with Fox, who told him that everyone was okay and, according to a probable cause affidavit, seemed dismissive of the situation. Clark stated that Fox said he was looking for his keys, and that when he was asked where the other individuals involved were located he said that one man was inside the residence.

Clark contacted medical personnel to examine the second man, who complained of blurred vision to his left eye and stated that he could not hear from his left ear.

Officer Ryan Van Horn, of the Jasonville Police Department, arrived and noted that Fox had blood and cuts on both hands. The second man told Van Horn that he had been at a bar with Fox when they met two other men. He said one of the other men flirted with some girls, which upset Fox.

The man said he and Fox left the bar and went to his house but that later, when Fox was very upset and angry, the man who had upset him tried to apologize and when Fox became agitated and started towards that man he stepped between them to prevent a fight. He told Van Horn that Fox began yelling at him and then attacked him, slamming him to the ground. He added that he could not remember anything after that point, and a family member took him to Greene County General Hospital.

Van Horn stated in the court document that both of the men who witnessed the situation gave a similar account of it, and said they were concerned for the man because he was not acting right after he hit his head being slammed to the ground by Fox.

Fox was taken into custody and interviewed at the Greene County Jail.

He told Van Horn there was an issue at the bar when another man flirted with married girls and that he thought it was tacky. He stated that when everyone was at the residence the injured man went after him and took him to the ground. He said he never slammed that man to the ground and that there was never a fight.

Van Horn noted that Fox continually stated that he was the guy on the bottom trying to get on top.

Officer Andrew Duguay interviewed the two other men who were present at the bar and at the residence, as well as a neighbor who said she got a call from Fox telling her to go the residence. She told Duguay that Fox and the man who was injured started fighting and that the other two men tried to pull them apart. She said they got them apart but a short time later they started fighting again.

The woman advised that during the second fight the injured man was on the bottom, Fox was in the middle, and one of the other men was hitting Fox. She said she did not recall seeing Fox throw the man but that when Fox is drunk he is mean, and added that after the fight Fox went toward the house, punched a window out, and hit his head off the wall.

One of the men told Duguay that the fight started when the injured man tried to calm Fox down. He said that when Fox slammed the other man on the ground he could hear his head hit, and that he then became involved in order to get Fox off the other man. He added that a neighbor broke the incident up a short time later.

The last man said that the injured man was trying to keep things calm when Fox started making comments to antagonize him, and that it became a pushing match that led to Fox trying to punch the other two men. He said the neighbor arrived and tried to break the fight up and that Fox then caused the man to hit his head on the ground.

He told Duguay that after they got the injured man away the other man fought with Fox to keep him down. He added that a short time later the incident was broken up by a neighbor.

Van Horn noted that medical records from Greene County General Hospital showed that the man who hit his head had a skull fracture in the left occipital region.

Tamera Crosley Enters Plea of Not Guilty on Friday

tamera crosley

Tamera Crosley, 19, of Worthington, entered a plea of not guilty and requested a court-appointed attorney during her initial hearing Friday morning at the Greene County Superior Court.

Crosley is charged with obstruction of justice, a class D felony, two counts of false informing, class B misdemeanors, and conspiracy to commit theft, a class D felony.

Crosley’s pretrial conference is set for 2:30 p.m. March 3.

Her husband, Randal E. Crosley, is accused of murdering 19-year-old Katelyn Wolfe in June of 2013.

Tamera Crosley’s charges are connected to the Wolfe incident.

On June 7 of last year, while investigating the disappearance of Katelyn Wolfe, Officers Josh Goodman and Paul Clark were interviewing Randal Crosley at the LPD when he allegedly admitted to selling Wolfe six Valium pills and also to having additional pills at his residence that he had planned to sell to her later.

The officers then interviewed Tamera Crosley, and according to a probable cause affidavit filed Jan. 10, she admitted to flushing the pills when law enforcement was at her residence earlier that morning.  She told the police that she did not know her husband was involved in drugs and that she disposed of the pills because she has a child and did not want to get in trouble.  She later provided the plastic bag the pills were in to law enforcement for evidence.

As part of the ongoing investigation, however, officers allegedly learned from phone records, phone data, and interviews that she was previously aware of and involved in illegal drug activity.

Officer Ryan Van Horn and Detective Paul Suding interviewed Tamera Crosley at the Jasonville Police Department that evening.

The officers asked Crosley about the nature of her sexual relationship with her husband, and she advised that they had sex a lot but that it was normal and they did not get into “freaky things, never have”.  She said they had never used bondage, handcuffs, or toys, and that while they wanted to go to Cirilla’s they had not yet been there.

Officers learned from video security footage that Crosley and Jordan W. Buskirk, who has plead guilty to Wolfe’s murder, had gone to Cirilla’s on June 4 and purchased various items including handcuffs.

Later, probable cause affidavits were filed on both Randal Crosley and Buskirk, which included the details of the condition of Wolfe’s body, statements Buskirk made to the police, and a list of items the two men purchased at Cirilla’s prior to Wolfe’s murder.

On June 24, Goodman and Clark interviewed Tamera Crosley again, and she said she knew what Buskirk’s affidavit said and that the things the men purchased at Cirilla’s were things she wanted and had been begging her husband to go to Cirilla’s and purchase.  She told the officers that she was into weird things in their sex life and her husband was not, and that she told him she liked to be tied down and handcuffed.

She went on to say that Randal Crosley had brought her the handcuffs and that Buskirk had grabbed them when they were on the porch, possibly the day before Wolfe went missing.  She added that her husband told her he had surprises for her, but that he did not show her anything besides the handcuffs.

Crosley refused to take a polygraph examination regarding her statement, and Goodman noted in the court document that the statement she gave on the 24th was completely different than what she had said on June 10.  He stated that he believes the statement she gave on the 24th was a dishonest statement intended to mislead law enforcement and to attempt to cover for her husband’s involvement in Wolfe’s murder.

Van Horn interviewed her again several weeks later and she allegedly agreed to take a polygraph examination as to her statements about the items purchased from Cirilla’s, but did not follow through with taking the examination

In December, Tamera Crosley allegedly entered into an agreement with a minor wherein the minor would steal baby clothes for Crosley.  Greene County Sheriff’s Department Detective James O’Malley, who was off-duty and at Walmart on personal business, saw the juvenile concealing the items and, after talking to the child, paid for the items and gave the juvenile $20 cash.

O’Malley went to the service desk to tell Walmart staff about the incident and observed a man returning the items he had just purchased for the juvenile.  The man told him he was asked by another individual to return the items for cash, and that individual, who was waiting in the parking lot, was identified as Tamera Crosley.

Crosley allegedly planned to put the money on her husband’s account at the Greene County Jail.

The man who attempted to return the items to the store said he did not know the items were stolen, and the juvenile agreed that the plan to steal them was not discussed with him.  The juvenile also stated that he or she did not know that Crosley planned to return the items for money to put on her husband’s books at the jail.

NewsBarb author Heather Rogers contributed to this report. 

 

Updated: Wife of Man Accused of Murdering Katelyn Wolfe Facing Charges

tamera crosley

Update: Jan. 13, 11:01 a.m.

Tamera D. Crosley was released from the Greene County Jail on Sunday, after paying $900 bond money (10 percent).

Original article published Jan. 10, 9:56 p.m.

Update Jan. 11, 9:11 p.m.:

Randal E. Crosley is accused of murdering 19-year-old Katelyn Wolfe in June of 2013.

He also faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, a class A felony, conspiracy to commit rape, a class B felony, criminal confinement, a class C felony, and two counts of dealing a controlled substance, class C felonies.

Friday, an arrest warrant was issued for Crosley’s wife Tamera D. Crosley,  19, of Worthington.  She was taken into custody by Linton Police Department Detective Sergeant Joshua Goodman at just after 8 p.m.

On June 7 of last year, while investigating the disappearance of Katelyn Wolfe, Officers Goodman and Paul Clark were interviewing Randal Crosley at the LPD when he allegedly admitted to selling Wolfe six Valium pills and also to having additional pills at his residence that he had planned to sell to her later.

The officers then interviewed Tamera Crosley, and according to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday, she admitted to flushing the pills when law enforcement was at her residence earlier that morning.  She told the police that she did not know her husband was involved in drugs and that she disposed of the pills because she has a child and did not want to get in trouble.  She later provided the plastic bag the pills were in to law enforcement for evidence.

As part of the ongoing investigation, however, officers allegedly learned from phone records, phone data, and interviews, that she was previously aware of and involved in illegal drug activity.

On June 10, law enforcement located Wolfe’s body, and Randal Crosley was a primary suspect in the investigation.  The condition in which Wolfe’s body was found was not initially disclosed to anyone outside of law enforcement.  She was submerged in a lake, bound with duct tape and rope, with her hands handcuffed behind her back and an anchor attached to her.

Officer Ryan Van Horn and Detective Paul Suding interviewed Tamera Crosley at the Jasonville Police Department that evening.

The officers asked Crosley about the nature of her sexual relationship with her husband, and she advised that they had sex a lot but that it was normal and they did not get into “freaky things, never have”.  She said they had never used bondage, handcuffs, or toys, and that while they wanted to go to Cirilla’s they had not yet been there.

Officers learned from video security footage that Crosley and Jordan W. Buskirk, who has plead guilty to Wolfe’s murder, had gone to Cirilla’s on June 4 and purchased various items including handcuffs.

Later, probable cause affidavits were filed on both Randal Crosley and Buskirk, which included the details of the condition of Wolfe’s body, statements Buskirk made to the police, and a list of items the two men purchased at Cirilla’s prior to Wolfe’s murder.

On June 24, Goodman and Clark interviewed Tamera Crosley again, and she said she knew what Buskirk’s affidavit said and that the things the men purchased at Cirilla’s were things she wanted and had been begging her husband to go to Cirilla’s and purchase.  She told the officers that she was into weird things in their sex life and her husband was not, and that she told him she liked to be tied down and handcuffed.

She went on to say that Randal Crosley had brought her the handcuffs and that Buskirk had grabbed them when they were on the porch, possibly the day before Wolfe went missing.  She added that her husband told her he had surprises for her, but that he did not show her anything besides the handcuffs.

Crosley refused to take a polygraph examination regarding her statement, and Goodman noted in the court document that the statement she gave on the 24th was completely different than what she had said on June 10.  He stated that he believes the statement she gave on the 24th was a dishonest statement intended to mislead law enforcement and to attempt to cover for her husband’s involvement in Wolfe’s murder.

Van Horn interviewed her again several weeks later and she allegedly agreed to take a polygraph examination as to her statements about the items purchased from Cirilla’s, but did not follow through with taking the examination

In December, Tamera Crosley allegedly entered into an agreement with a minor wherein the minor would steal baby clothes for Crosley.  Greene County Sheriff’s Department Detective James O’Malley, who was off-duty and at Walmart on personal business, saw the juvenile concealing the items and, after talking to the child, paid for the items and gave the juvenile $20 cash.

O’Malley went to the service desk to tell Walmart staff about the incident and observed a man returning the items he had just purchased for the juvenile.  The man told him he was asked by another individual to return the items for cash, and that individual, who was waiting in the parking lot, was identified as Tamera Crosley.

Crosley allegedly planned to put the money on her husband’s account at the Greene County Jail.

The man who attempted to return the items to the store said he did not know the items were stolen, and the juvenile agreed that the plan to steal them was not discussed with him.  The juvenile also stated that he or she did not know that Crosley planned to return the items for money to put on her husband’s books at the jail.

Tamera Crosley is charged with obstruction of justice, a class D felony, two counts of false informing, class B misdemeanors, and conspiracy to commit theft, a class D felony.

Linton Man Arrested after Allegedly Doing Donuts, Fleeing Police

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The Linton Police Department received a complaint about a vehicle doing donuts behind Fast Point early Thursday morning.

Officer Paul Clark located the 1990 Ford F-150 and attempted to stop the driver, 47-year-old John W. Keller, Jr. According to an LPD news release, Keller fled through an alley in his vehicle, spun out, and then drove backwards down 7th Street SE.

The vehicle left the road and ran across a mailbox before becoming stuck in the snow, at which point Keller allegedly exited the vehicle and fled on foot.

Clark located and arrested him a few minutes later.

Keller is preliminarily charged with operating while intoxicated, a class D felony, resisting law enforcement, a class D felony, resisting law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor, and being a habitual traffic offender, a class C felony.

 

Two Warrants Served On Bloomfield Man at Allen’s Motel

Monday night, officers from the Linton Police Department and an Indiana State Police trooper served two separate arrest warrants on a Bloomfield man staying at Allen’s Motel.

According to a release from the LPD, officers were made aware of 31-year-old Nathan P. Michael’s location, and that he was wanted on two warrants out of Greene County– one criminal and one civil.

The criminal warrant was for a petition to revoke a suspended sentence on an original charge of dealing a controlled substance. The civil warrant was a writ of attachment.

Officer Paul Clark was the investigating officer, assisted by Sergeant Chad Crynes, Officer Thomas Jerrels, and ISP Trooper Richard Klun.

 

Two Men Arrested in Linton on Sunday

Dominic Fulk

Officer Paul Clark, of the Linton Police Department, arrested two men on alcohol-related charges early Sunday morning.

Clark received a report of an intoxicated pedestrian on SW 12th Street and located Jeffery A. Hutcherson Jr., 27, of Lyons. Hutcherson told Clark that he and Dominic O. Fulk, 21, of Sullivan, had been involved in an accident on A Street SW. Hutcherson was arrested, and the vehicle was located and impounded for investigation.

Fulk arrived at the impound yard, where he failed a field sobriety test and then gave a breath sample. Fulk allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .10.

Fulk is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, a class A misdemeanor, and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of between .08 and .14, a class C misdemeanor.

Hutcherson is charged with public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor.

 

LPD Arrests Jasonville Man for Allegedly Breaking into Residence

Graham Tackett

Linton Police Department Officer Chad Crynes responded to a call about a residential break-in on Wednesday night.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Crynes found Graham N. Tackett, 24, standing inside the residence while apparently trying to fix the damaged back door.

During an interview at the Linton Police Department, Crynes asked Tackett why he kicked in the back door and Tackett said he had a key but there was another lock on the door so he could not get inside. He claimed that he needed to get inside because he had left his wallet there the night before, and added that he entered the residence by using his arm/shoulder to break the door open.

Officer Paul Clark contacted the owner of the residence, who stated that Tackett did not have permission to enter it.

Crynes found a pill later identified as Methadone, which Tackett does not have a prescription for, in Tackett’s jacket pocket.

Tackett is charged with possession of a controlled substance and residential entry, both class D felonies.

 

Local Law Enforcement Officials to Participate in “No Shave November”

Photo by Daryn Lewellyn

Greene County residents will probably notice a big change in some local law enforcement officials this month—an abundance of facial hair.

Fraternal Order of Police [FOP] President Paul Clark said the first time he heard about “No Shave November” he was told it was the prostate cancer equivalent of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He decided he wanted to give the program a try, and has now received pledges of participation from the Linton, Jasonville, Worthington, and Lyons Police Departments as well as the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office.

Clark pointed out that the program raises money for cancer research as well as promoting awareness of the disease.

“People who participate donate a dollar for every day they don’t shave during the month of November. People who pledge to participate but choose to shave can buy what we call a ‘shaving permit’ for $45, which allows them to shave however and whenever they want,” he explained.

All of the money the FOP raises will be donated to the American Cancer Society and Clark stressed that participants are forgoing shaving for a good cause.

“Every law enforcement agency in the county has a set of grooming standards, and for the agencies that are participating to go outside of those standards to raise awareness and funds is kind of a big deal,” he stated.

Clark added that cancer is a disease that touches everyone, and that he does not know of anybody who has not been affected on some level, whether through a family member, friend, or personal battle.

“We have members who are afflicted with, or impacted by, the disease the same as everyone else. These are people who we call brothers, people who spent their lives and careers working for our communities and are now stricken with cancer. It’s painful and it’s depressing—it’s time we find a cure,” he said.

The FOP is not asking for donations from the community. However, if other organizations want to participate on their own, Clark encourages them to do so because “No Shave November” is a way to raise money for cancer research while also having fun and encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones.

“The public is going to notice it when they start seeing law enforcement officials they expect to be clean shaven showing up with extra hair. By the end of the month, I think it’s going to look pretty nasty on some people. I fully expect to have a nasty neck beard,” he explained.

 

Linton Man Charged with Exposing Himself to Gas Station Attendant

On October 5th an attendant at the Sunoco Gas Station in Linton called the Linton Police Department to report that a man who had been in the store on numerous occasions over the previous few hours had exposed himself on his last visit.

Officer Paul Clark talked to the attendant, who told him that around 12:15 a.m. the man later identified as Bryan L. Cullison Jr. asked to use the employee bathroom inside the store. According to a probable cause affidavit filed on Thursday, the attendant stated that after a short time inside the bathroom Cullison called to her and asked for permission to wash his penis. She told Clark that she ignored the question and several minutes later Cullison yelled for her again, claiming the bathroom was out of paper towels.

The attendant said she took some large paper filters to Cullison, and that when he opened the bathroom door he was exposing his penis through his shorts.

She told Clark she slammed the door shut and went back to the counter again. She added that after Cullison left the bathroom he insisted on buying her a pack of cigarettes for troubling her. He then left the store and sat inside his car until he left a short time later.

According to the court document, Clark suspected the man was Cullison because his car matched the one described by the attendant and Cullison had been involved in a similar incident at Linton’s Chuckles gas station this past July.

In that incident, Cullison allegedly called to the attendant about being out of paper towels, and when he opened the door he was completely naked with his penis exposed towards the attendant. When law enforcement talked to him, Cullison said he was washing himself at the gas station because he had no other place to bathe. He claimed the door opening while he was undressed was accidental.

Once Clark suspected that Cullison was the man who exposed himself at Sunoco, he went to Cullison’s residence with Officer Thomas Jerrels. When Clark knocked on the door a light inside the residence immediately turned off. Jerrels was watching the other door when Cullison ran out of it, and ordered him to stop.

Cullison agreed to be interviewed at the Linton Police Department, and Jerrels took a photograph of him to show to the attendant, who told Jerrels the picture was of the man who had exposed himself to her. She also described him as wearing shorts that matched the shorts Cullison had on when the officers found him at his residence.

Cullison initially denied the incident at Sunoco, but then told Clark he went into the bathroom because he was ill and had diarrhea and had defecated in his clothes. He said he did not intentionally expose his penis to the attendant and that he believed if she had seen his penis it was accidental.

Cullison is charged with indecent exposure, a class C misdemeanor.

 

Linton Council Approves $250,000 of Personnel Cuts to Fire and Police Departments

Council Meeting budget cuts 134

Those attending Monday evening’s Linton City Council meeting were greeted by home-made signs protesting suggested 2014 budget cuts to the police and fire departments. The sign-makers expressed concerns over the safety of police officers and firefighters, as well as that of the community as a whole.

During the meeting, Linton Mayor John Wilkes presented the 2014 budget and the council voted to approve a $3,111,579 budget, which Wilkes pointed out is a 15 percent decrease from last year.

Local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Paul Clark asked the mayor if there would be any public discussion about the budget and the mayor replied that he would answer questions after the meeting. Wilkes then said that when he and Comptroller David Sisk first began working on the budget they cut about $250,000 of what he described as “fluff” before they needed to make hard decisions. At that point they began working with Clark, the police department, the union, and the fire department to cut about $250,000 from personnel in the fire and police departments.

The council then signed the new budget and adjourned the meeting.

Linton’s fire and police departments account for about 94 percent of the General Fund’s budget.

The local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has been working with the mayor since late August in an attempt to save two positions on the police force, including offering between $70,000 and $75,000 worth of alternative cuts intended to save money without impacting public safety.

Early in October, the mayor informed Linton Fire Chief Brad Sparks that the fire department could lose a position as well, and representatives from the local International Association of Firefighters and the Professional Fire Fighters Union of Indiana began searching for ways the department could resolve the situation and prevent future problems of this nature.

Linton Police Department Officers Michael Harroll and Brock Garrison have the least seniority on the police force and Firefighter Ross Gentry is the newest member of the fire department.

After the meeting was closed, Clark asked if Wilkes knew when he would be prepared to announce where the personnel cuts would come from and Wilkes replied that although the two of them have discussed it and Clark pretty much knows the answer he cannot finalize everything because two firefighters are on workman’s compensation and the city is trying to get that worked out.

“This is not something that we want to do,” stated Wilkes. “But when the money’s not there, and that’s what it boils down to, when they put the tax caps on and they cut the money out there’s no place to get the money. I do appreciate the guys working with us and trying to figure out how we can do this thing but when there’s no money there’s no money and that’s what we’re up against.”

Clark then asked if the city was taking preventative measures to make sure this does not happen again. The Mayor said that they will do anything possible to get more funds but right now there are no avenues for the city to adopt a tax to bring the money in, and added that drops in property tax money and County Option Income Tax revenue caused the current crisis. He stressed that everyone should let their legislators know what they are doing to small communities.

“They are hurting our police and our fire and that’s what’s doing it, and we need to get a money stream coming back into these communities so we can support you guys,” Wilkes added, also noting the city will try to come up with other work for police or fire workers who lose their positions.

Citizens then asked questions and offered comments. In response to a question about whether or not the budget can be amended if the city gets more money the mayor responded that it could and would be changed. Council Member Linda Bedwell stressed that the decision to cut personnel was not easy for anyone on the board.

Wilkes said the city will have to tighten its belt to make sure this is not a problem that will come up year after year.

When asked if he knew how many positions would be cut from the police and fire departments Wilkes replied they would probably lose a combined three positions and added that they have taken some money from the utilities in lieu of taxes to put in the General Fund to offset the cost of the police and fire departments, but they have reached the legal limit of how much money they can transfer in that manner.

A woman thanked the police department for helping her family through a hard time when her son was having problems with drugs.

“Because of them I have my son back,” she explained, “so I don’t want any of those jobs to be cut and I want to get rid of the drugs, too.”

The mayor responded by assuring her they know the officers are doing great jobs.

Another woman pointed out that every time someone from the police or fire department goes out on a call they put their lives on the line and stated that the community should stand behind them. Wilkes agreed and said he hopes to find a way. When she suggested the city raise money through fines on littering the mayor said his door is open to anyone who has ideas about bringing in additional revenue.

The mayor was then asked how the city will repay the grant that is currently paying the salary of the police department’s 11th officer, and Wilkes replied that they will take that money out of utilities. Police Chief Troy Jerrell said they will need to refund about $120,000 and the mayor added that although that money could pay additional salaries next year they would end up in this position again the following year.

When it was pointed out that firemen’s lives would be put at risk by a reduction to the force Wilkes assured everyone that the council is working to find a way to solve the problem. He said the only way the city could get additional money at this point would be through taxes the county would be capable of implementing and repeated his belief that state representatives need to address this problem.

After the meeting broke up, Jerrell said that while he understands there are budget problems he still hopes another solution will be found besides cutting personnel. Sparks stated that it is not over and he is glad the council is leaving the lines of communication open.

“Other than the guy who loses his job and our lives being put on the line, it’s the people who are going to suffer. I understand what John [Wilkes] is doing. He’s doing what he has to do, it’s just that everyone’s hands are tied and hopefully we can find some money,” added Sparks.

Clark noted that the FOP’s concern is that citizens will no longer be afforded the same level of police protection they have come to expect in Linton.

“I know that we will try to provide the same level of protection, and that we will try to do more with less, but the bottom line is that you are probably going to see the philosophy of policing change from a proactive approach to more of a reactive approach. That is a very big detriment to public safety because if all you can do is wait for something bad to happen and try to catch the person who did it that is a whole lot different than trying to catch bad guys before they commit crimes,” Clark explained.

He stressed that cutting police manpower by 20 percent hampers the department’s ability to catch people in criminal acts because officers will be busy responding to the crimes that have already occurred, and added that the FOP’s primary goal is to try to control the quality of life of local officers. Clark said once final decisions about personnel cuts have been made and implemented the quality of life of the remaining officers will be affected.

“We don’t want this to become a place where nobody wants to work. We don’t want to lose the experienced policemen we have because there is no quality of life here. Obviously policemen don’t take the job for money. We take the job knowing we won’t be at home with our families—we’ve all missed birthday parties, we’ve all worked nights, we’ve all been called out on our days off,” Clark explained.

He stressed that once quality of life within the department begins to drop he fears the loss of experienced policemen, since the department does not pay well or offer great benefits.

“This is not a solution,” he stated. “We did not lay off two policemen and now the situation is resolved. We laid off two policemen in the first round. We expect to be back down here fighting for public safety jobs the next time the city incurs a major expense, whether that is health insurance, liability, or litigation. That money has to come from the tax base.”

Clark added that the signs outside city hall did not come from the police department or the FOP and said it was nice to see that people cared. He also appreciated the people who attended the council meeting and were vocal in their support of the police and fire departments.

“The lady who spoke about how the police department saved her family probably single-handedly justified ten policemen’s careers in their minds. That was as touching a thing as I’ve ever seen in a city council meeting,” said Clark.

City Budget Cuts Timeline:

 

Linton Fire Department Asking for Voter Support at Next Council Meeting

Photos courtesy of How Charming Photography

Early this month, the Linton Fire Department learned the city may lose a firefighter position due to the current civil city budget shortfall. Eric Carpenter, President of the local International Association of Firefighters has a meeting on October 13th with the president of the Professional Fire Fighters Union of Indiana to discuss ways the department could resolve this situation and prevent it from being a problem in the future.

“When we approached him about it he felt for us and everything, but he said this isn’t something that’s new. There are departments all over the state that are going through this,” said Carpenter.

Fire Chief Brad Sparks noted that the fire department is now in the same situation as the Linton Police Department, but with much less notice.

“When I approached [Mayor] John [Wilkes] about that, his answer was that first he didn’t think the fire department was going to be under fire but as it came closer to the deadline unfortunately we kind of got thrown under the bus, too,” Carpenter explained.

He stressed that communications between firefighters and City Hall are open, and that Wilkes has told him he’s more than willing to keep the firefighter position if they can find a way to cut enough money from their budget.

Firefighter Ross Gentry, who did an internship with the department while attending high school and then starting working there full-time in April of 2012, has the least amount of seniority and would be the firefighter to lose his job. Carpenter said if this happens, the mayor told him it would probably go into effect in mid-to-late November. He pointed out that this would affect the department badly at this point in time.

“We only have 9 guys to begin with, and right now we’ve got two guys off for workman’s comp … If we lose Ross on the layoff then that brings us down to six guys,” Carpenter explained.

He also noted that according to safety regulations you should have four firefighters to run a fire engine and that in cases where only two people were scheduled for a shift if one of them could not be at work the city would need to pay overtime. This is a way the fire department’s position differs from that of the police department, because firefighters get paid overtime while police officers receive compensation time instead. Sparks said additional overtime generated by the reduced manpower could ultimately cost more than keeping the extra man.

Carpenter added that he also expects this to create more problems, although they don’t have estimates on the dollar amounts that could be involved.

An additional way in which the fire department’s situation is different from that of the police department is that while Sparks said the fire department has considered using a grant that would pay for a firefighter in a way similar to the grant the police department has for its 11th officer, the fire department chose not to apply for that type of grant. Sparks explained that they realized the grant would lock them into keeping that employee for a set amount of time even if layoffs became necessary, and that it would not have been the best choice for either the fire department or the City of Linton.

Carpenter remarked on the fact that his union has not yet had a chance to work on this problem with representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police, who have been in budget cut discussions with the mayor since late August.

“Unfortunately, we found out so late it’s made it difficult, to put it mildly. Ideally, that would have been perfect for the two of us to get together,” he explained.

Sparks noted the fire department provides fire protection for the entire Stockton Township and also runs a full-time ambulance service for the area. He also pointed out that Linton has a lot of people in assisted living situations, and that it is important they have access to quick responses during emergencies.

“The only thing we have to survive off in this area is assisted living,” Sparks stated. “What else is there here? There’s nothing in this community but assisted living, and how are we going to protect assisted living by cutting manpower? Our hospital has just expanded for that reason, and now we’re going to cut our police, fire, and EMS. It makes no sense to me, but there again our tax payers voted on it.”

He added that while some community members consider switching to a volunteer fire department to be a viable cost-cutting option, that would come with its own problems.

“They can go to a volunteer fire department at any time but they’re going to have to come up with extra people, because we’ve got nine guys doing the job. They are going to need two to three times that many people … and every one of those people is going to have another job. Are they going to be available to make the approximately 1,000 runs we make a year? Will the service be the same for our citizens?” Sparks asked.

Carpenter noted that response time is generally the biggest concern with volunteer fire departments.

“With us being here on-station the response time is tremendously better than a volunteer department. Even an active volunteer department that’s doing all they can do, they’ve got to cover from home or work or wherever,” he explained.

Sparks said the Stockton Township area response time is generally three to five minutes, and that while that may seem like an eternity to the person who dialed 911 it is a short time to get a fire truck or ambulance on-scene.

He went on to note that local fire departments assist each other with equipment and manpower, so cuts to the Linton department could impact response times in other parts of the county.

Sparks explained that department activities such as Fire Safety Month tours and giveaways for kids, sponsorship of sports teams, scholarships, and buying and hanging American and Linton Miner Flags are not funded out of their budget but are instead taken care of through donations and fundraising efforts.

He said even the previous fire department administration was watching money carefully after voters chose to cap property taxes in 2008.

“We were told in 2008 to tighten our belts and start preparing for the worst—be ready, be ready, be ready,” Sparks recalled. “And that’s exactly what the fire department has done. There have been no big purchases made by the City of Linton on the fire department side since then. Everything here has been done by donations, or grants, or fundraising activities we’ve done on our own.”

Sparks said they have already cut about $30,000 in basic things such as maintenance costs for their equipment from their budget, and that while they hope to find additional cost-saving measures to enable them to keep the firefighter position the budget is already bare-bones. He added that in the long term the city will simply have to generate more tax revenue.

“The ultimate answer is a local income tax that the commissioners could put on. But the way I understand it now is the commissioners we have are not for adding any taxes. As a taxpayer I understand that, but also as a taxpayer when I call 911 I want someone to respond. When I go to drive home I like to drive on blacktopped roads. I like to know things are working in our community,” Sparks stated.

Carpenter asked community members to attend the next city council meeting at 6 p.m. on October 14th at the City Hall.

“We’re basically trying to rally support not only for us but for public safety in general,” Carpenter explained. “Anyone out there who catches word of this, we encourage them to call their council members, call the mayor’s office, and most definitely attend on the 14th to show support if they’re able. If anyone has any questions we can answer we’re willing to talk to people or meet with groups or do whatever we can to help the situation.”

Sparks added that he believes money can be raised to help offset the budget shortfall, but that citizens will need to be willing to pitch in.

“Right now it’s just up in the air and we’ll see what we can come up with at crunch time,” he remarked. “I think without the voter support we’re spinning our wheels, but with the support of voters showing that they’re willing to help– that’s where we’re going to succeed.”