Jury Rules in Favor of Police Officer in BSU Shooting Case

A federal jury on Monday found a former Ball State University police officer was not liable for the shooting death of a drunken student. Jurors in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis deliberated about three hours before returning the verdict in favor of Robert Duplain. Duplain testified that Michael McKinney of Bedford, charged at him and he fired in fear that McKinney could lunge for his gun. Duplain said he didn’t know at the time in November 2003 that McKinney was a lost, drunken college student at the wrong address. The 24-year-old rookie officer had been summoned to a residence after the student began pounding on a stranger’s back door.

Police Chase Suspect Runs Out of Gas

A pursuit that reached speeds of nearly 100 mph along Interstate 69 ended Monday after the suspect ran out of gas. Indiana State Police Sgt. Mike Burns said Horton Ivory of Mount Clemens, Mich., was arrested on suspicion of resisting law enforcement, possession of stolen property and speeding. He was being held on $15,000 bond late Monday. Indiana State Police clocked a 2006 Jeep Cherokee traveling southbound at 97 mph near the 40-mile marker around 4:45 p.m. Not long before, drivers in Delaware County reported a Jeep without a license plate speeding southbound on the interstate.
A passenger, who wasn’t named in the press release, got out of the vehicle and was taken into custody. Ivory, however, refused to leave the Jeep. After about five minutes, Ivory got out and was arrested. Troopers later discovered the Jeep had been stolen Monday morning in Michigan.

Charges Resolved in Some Neal Related Gambling Cases

Five more people pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges in connection to the large illegal gambling operation allegedly masterminded by John L. Neal. Each pleaded guilty to aiding in the commission of unlawful gambling, a Class B misdemeanor. Madison Superior Court 3 Judge Thomas Newman gave each a six-month suspended jail sentence and one year of formal probation. All remaining charges were dropped in deals with prosecutors.

School Superintendents Concerned About Tax Plan

Facing annual revenue losses in the millions of dollars, county school superintendents are asking lawmakers to rethink the proposed property tax bill to guarantee local money for education. As the bill approved by the Indiana House stands, Madison County’s five public school districts would collect $3 million less in annual tax revenue by 2010 because of proposed limits, also called “circuit breaker” caps, on property taxes. Superintendents, while acknowledging the need for property tax reform, are concerned that the legislation does not guarantee them an alternative income source. Unlike city and county governments, which would also face budget constraints under the proposed law, school districts rely solely on property taxes for local revenue.

Fishers Couple Dies in Fog-Related Traffic Crash

Dense fog Monday contributed to crashes that killed three people, among them a Fisher’s couple. A semitrailer collided with a car that entered the intersection of Indiana 63 and Ind. 28 in Warren County shortly after 3 p.m., killing a Fishers couple. State police said fog severely limited visibility for both drivers. Police identified the dead as Raymond Desrosiers and his wife, Shirley. The truck driver, Kelly S. Nelson of Renssalear, was not injured. Visibility at the time of the crash was estimated at less than one quarter of a mile.

Two Blue River Valley High School Students Killed in Traffic Crash

A tragic weekend traffic crash claimed the lives of two Blue River Valley high school students. Travis Sharrett of Mount Summit and Whitney Thompson of New Castle were killed in the Friday night accident. According to police reports, their car skidded on some ice, lost control, hit a grain bin, and become wedged under a parked semi-trailer truck. The two were returning from a movie in Muncie at the time of the crash. Counselors will be on duty at the school today to help students deal with their grief.

Deliberations Begin Today in BSU Police Killing Case

The jury is scheduled to begin deliberations today in the trial of an excessive-force lawsuit against former Ball State University Police policeman Robert Duplain. The family of Ball State senior Michael McKinney filed the lawsuit against Duplain after the officer fatally shot the student in 2003. McKinney’s father is asking a federal court jury to award $275 million in damages. The jury in the case was scheduled to hear instructions from Judge Richard Young and closing statements from the attorneys today.

Delaware County Tax Rebate Checks Still Not Mailed

The check’s in the mail? Actually it isn’t. Property tax rebate checks are due to Delaware County property tax payers. But, according to Delaware County Auditor Judy Rust, the checks have not been mailed yet. She says she is aiming for a late spring date. However, some other counties in the state have already mailed their checks or announced the mailing dates. Rust says it takes longer in Delaware County, since it’s a larger county.

Bats Swarm in Muncie After Smokestack Demolition

Watch out for bats. Hundreds were released Thursday when the smokestack at the former Chevrolet plant was destoyed on Friday. Residents in the area said that the of bats were observed the area follow the last. Experts say that unless the bats find a warm enviornment quickly, they will like die due to the freezing temperatures.