CIRCUIT COURT: Murder trial to proceed May 6

Apr. 18—A man accused of murdering his wife will go to trial May 6.

During Elkhart County Circuit Court proceedings Thursday, Public Defender Jeffrey Majerik said he and Matthew Thompson, 36, were proceeding with the trial, withdrawing a former plea of guilty filed in court but not yet approved.

Thompson is believed responsible for the death of his 27-year-old Ciarra Thompson Aug. 18. Police were called to 1426 Cone St., Elkhart, at 7:16 p.m. Aug. 19, for a report that Thompson's wife was unconscious, not breathing, and bloodied. According to court documents, Thompson reported that he'd found Ciarra on the kitchen floor and she would not wake up.

Ciarra was already deceased when officers arrived on scene, and Elkhart County Homicide Unit was called in. In the charging affidavit, officers stated they found blood throughout the living room and kitchen of the home, with a large amount saturating the living room couch, and noted that some of it had been cleaned up. Detectives also noted that Ciarra had open wounds on her head and neck.

Speaking to detectives, Thompson admitted that he'd cleaned up some of the blood, but initially denied causing harm to Ciarra, the affidavit reads. He did eventually admit, according to investigators, that Friday, Aug. 18 he'd punched Ciarra numerous times on her head and shook her.

After his last punch, the affidavit reads, Ciarra struck her head on the kitchen counter before falling down on the kitchen floor. Thompson told police that Ciarra had been in the same place she'd fallen when he called police.

In April, Thompson filed for a fast and speedy trial.


An Elkhart man was sentenced to 28 for a robbery and shooting at KFC in March 2019.

Cole himself also attempted to rescind his guilty plea during the hearing, but Elkhart County Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno said that because he had already agreed to it and it was accepted by the court, the guilty plea would stand.

A relative of the victim read a statement from the family in court.

"We were robbed of so much more than the money in that register and you have no idea what it's been like," he said.

He also read a statement from the victim.

"The person who shot me does not have the tiniest shred of an idea how I wake up every day with pain in my chest and in my heart," he read. "All of my family, my step children, especially my wife, have been affected by these changes. Everything you think is easy is now incredibly hard for me."

Jordan Cole, 21, Elkhart, was dealing with a battery charge stemming from February 2021, but authorities are also accusing him and Tyris Jennings in a string of robberies March 27, 2019.

According to police, the two men shot a 45-year-old man while robbing a Kentucky Fried Chicken and later a Burger King that day. The shooting left the KFC employee paralyzed.

Warrants for the duo were issued in June, police say, due to surveillance footage and the testimony of the men. Cole was arrested Aug. 24.

Cole was sentenced to 28 years for Attempted Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, a Level 2 Felony, to 28 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections wit 6 years suspended on reporting probation.


A meth dealer was sentenced to 16.5 years during Elkhart County Circuit Court proceedings Thursday.

The sentence was part of a plea deal; Dealing in Meth, a Level 2 Felony, at 16.5 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections with two years suspended on reporting probation.

In July of 2021, the Elkhart County ICE Unit began an investigation into Ritz for dealing meth. Following a controlled buy of meth in July and another in August totaling around 60 grams between the two buys.

Ritz apologized to the court and told the judge that he is working toward becoming a better person.


A woman was sentenced to a decade in prison for dealing meth Thursday.

Police were notified by an anonymous tip around 1 a.m. Dec. 29 that a light-colored Honda Accord would be driving in a specific part of town with an ounce of meth, a probable cause affidavit reports.

Around 2 p.m., an officer with the Elkhart Police Department found the vehicle in the area, in the parking lot of 740 Prairie Street.

Upon leaving, police stopped the driver after the vehicle signaled north but headed south, had a loud muffler, and committed several other minor traffic violations. The driver, Shakira T. Isaac, Benton Harbor, 27, and a passenger appeared nervous according to police and they were asked to exit the vehicle. The passenger had a meth pipe in their pants pocket and was arrested, and Isaac was also detained for a drug investigation.

Using a K-9 unit, officers found a hand-rolled joint in the driver's door pocket and inside the glove box they found a meth pipe and a digital scale in a makeup bag. Police also found in the hood of the vehicle a black plastic box stuck to the vehicle with magnets and contained bags with 5 grams of bud marijuana, 3.5 grams of shake, and 28 grams of meth inside, and a pill container also containing 1 gram of meth.

Isaac was charged with dealing meth, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia. On Thursday, Isaac was sentenced by plea agreement to Dealing in Methamphetamine, a Level 2 Felony, to 10 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections with four years suspended on reporting probation. The other two counts were dismissed.


A man accused of burglarizing a local business was sentenced by plea agreement Thursday in Elkhart County Circuit Court.

Matthew McKinley, 38, was sentenced on a charge of Burglary, a Level 5 Felony, to four years at the Indiana Department of Corrections with two years suspended on reporting probation.

According to a probable cause affidavit a manager at Mastec, 4341 Pine Creek Road, Elkhart, reported to police Aug. 6, 2022, that someone had broken into the property, pried the tool cabinets open, and cut the chain to the tool cage, and stole many tools. A security camera showed a vehicle pulling up to the gated yard at 3:10 a.m., cutting the gate lock, and then leaving about an hour and a half later.

Some of the items reported missing were found in Auburn with McKinley. DNA swabs confirmed a match to swabs taken from the site. McKinley admitted to the burglary, citing intimate knowledge of the location of the items stolen. The estimated loss was $70,000 with most of the items recovered but some still missing.

At sentencing, McKinley apologized for his actions and told the judge that it wouldn't have happened if he weren't on drugs. McKinley has a series of cases across Northern Indiana that he is going through courts across the area for.

"It seems to me that you are on the proverbial fork in the road and you're either going to get these matters taken care of and get your life together or you're going to spend most of your life incarcerated," Judge Christofeno said.


Two men accused of a bank robbery in March had pretrial conferences during Thursday's Circuit Court Proceedings.

Tyrone Andre Hunt, 61, and Melvin Deandre Levy, 43, both of Elkhart, were arrested on charges of robbery, a Level 3 felony; and resisting law enforcement, a Level 6 felony, after an incident at Fifth Third Bank, 400 N. Main St., Elkhart March 14.

Elkhart City Police responded to a robbery in progress at 9:37 a.m. that day. Witnesses claimed that one of the men forcefully brought the bank manager and another employee from their offices to teller counters where they were demanded to withdraw cash — almost $8,000.

With the suspects last seen running toward Sycamore Street, officers also found surveillance of them getting into a white Chevrolet Malibu and, using flock cameras, located the vehicle in the 600 block of Laurel Street around 10:40 a.m. Neighbors in the area told them a woman had gotten out of that vehicle and into a black Cadillac Escalade, which officers later found in the 3500 block of Superior Street. Officers followed the vehicle to a car wash and when they approached, two men fled on foot.

The men were caught and identified as Melvin Levy and Tyrone Hunt, each with over $2,000 in cash on their person, and backpacks alleged to have been involved in the robbery, as well as clothing identified by witnesses.

Hunt allegedly told police he and Levy were responsible for the robbery, but Levy denied involvement.

During Thursday's proceedings, Elkhart County Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno did not lower either man's bond. Both remain set at $50,000 corporate surety.

Separately, both men have omnibus dates of April 18, pretrial conferences on May 16, trial status conferences on Nov. 7, and jury trials on Dec. 2.


A South Bend man accused of armed robbery acknowledged his trial date in court on Thursday.

LaSean T. Green, 31, was charged with a Level 3 felony count of armed robbery after allegedly holding a man up and injuring him after a Facebook Marketplace sale gone wrong.

Police said the two had planned to meet at Cabin Coffee Co., 707 Lincolnway East, Feb. 20, 2020. According to the charging affidavit, the victim intended to purchase two phones from Green, who after getting out of the car, demanded the money and pistol-whipped the victim while a second suspect helped him take the money.

A jury trial is scheduled for Nov. 18, with a trial status conference Oct. 24.

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at or at 574-538-2065.