Oct. 7—GOSHEN — An Elkhart woman is facing a possible 15-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a Level 2 felony charge of dealing synthetic marijuana during Elkhart County Circuit Court proceedings Thursday morning.
Shannon Burton, 38, who appeared in court for a hearing Thursday, confirmed to Judge Michael Christofeno her intention to plead guilty to the Level 2 felony charge of dealing in a Schedule I controlled substance with a weight of at least 28 grams. The charge stems from an August 2019 incident in Elkhart County during which Burton was arrested and charged with possession of approximately 330 grams of synthetic marijuana with the intent to deliver.
According to Christofeno, the penalty for a Level 2 felony is a minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of 30 years, and an advisory sentence of 17 and a half years. Those convicted of a Level 2 felony can also be charged a fine of up to $10,000.
Under her plea agreement, Burton will serve 15 years at the Indiana Department of Correction with five years suspended and five years to be served on reporting probation.
With the acceptance of her plea bargain and guilty plea, a sentencing hearing for Burton was set for Nov. 3.
Additionally, it was noted that by pleading guilty to the Level 2 felony dealing charge, Burton admitted to violating the terms of her probation stemming from a previous October 2018 crime involving a Level 5 felony charge of domestic battery by means of a deadly weapon.
As such, a dispositional hearing to discuss the probation violation was also set for Nov. 3.
—Kevin Reyes Rosario, 21, Elkhart, was handed down a 12-year prison sentence on a Level 3 felony charge of armed robbery during his sentencing hearing Thursday.
Reyes Rosario, who was sentenced by Judge Christofeno, pleaded guilty to the armed robbery charge back in early September. A second related charge, Level 6 felony theft of a firearm, was dropped as part of his plea agreement.
According to court documents, the armed robbery charge stems from Reyes Rosario's arrest back in November of 2021 after police responded to a robbery call involving a couple who thought they were meeting with someone interested in purchasing a phone from them.
Prior to his sentencing, Reyes Rosario was granted an opportunity to issue a final statement regarding his case.
"I want to say I'm sorry to the victims that I put in danger," Reyes Rosario said. "I just want to get back to my family, back to the community, and just do things right.
"I don't want to be in this lifestyle no more," he added. "This jail is not for me."
Christofeno responded to Reyes Rosario's statement with a stern warning.
"You're standing at a precipice — the edge of a cliff," Christofeno said. "You've got a choice to make young man. You either want to jump off that cliff, and you want to be just one other young person who comes in front of me for the first time, and then comes and sees me for a second time, and a third time, and you grow up in the Department of Correction, and you're a career criminal. Or, you want to back away from that cliff, and you actually want to do what you just told me — turn your life around and get back to your family. And I've got news for you, you're the only one who is going to be able to tell me that."
As sentenced under his plea agreement, Reyes Rosario will serve 12 years at the IDOC with four years suspended and four years to be served on reporting probation.
In addition, he was also ordered to pay court costs; fined $5,000, which was then suspended; ordered to provide a DNA sample at his cost if he has not yet done so; and ordered to have an addictions evaluation and follow up with any recommended treatment.
—Dean Anderson, 59, Goshen, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on a Level 4 felony charge of dealing heroin during his sentencing hearing Thursday.
Anderson, who was sentenced by Judge Christofeno, pleaded guilty to the dealing charge back in late August. He had been facing multiple drug-related charges stemming from his arrest in Elkhart County back in April of 2021 involving the dealing of heroin, though all but one count, the Level 4 felony, were thrown out as part of his plea agreement.
According to Christofeno, the penalty for a Level 4 felony is a minimum of two years in prison, a maximum of 12 years, and an advisory sentence of six years. Those convicted of a Level 4 felony can also be charged a fine of up to $10,000.
Under his plea agreement, Anderson will serve 10 years at the IDOC with four years suspended and four years to be served on reporting probation with a Recovery While Incarcerated recommendation, with the possibility of a sentence modification upon successful completion of the program, and provided he has no conduct violations.
In addition, Sims was also ordered to pay court costs; fined $5,000, which was then suspended; ordered to pay a $200 drug interdiction fee; ordered to reimburse the Elkhart County Public Defender Fund the sum of $500 for the public defender services; ordered to provide a DNA sample at his cost if he has not yet done so; and ordered to have an addictions evaluation and follow up with any recommended treatment.
With the acceptance of his plea bargain, Anderson's five remaining charges were dismissed. They included: possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony; unlawful possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Level 6 felony; possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.