Court beat

From Aug. 19 to Aug. 23, the White County Prosecutor’s Office filed 20 cases related to criminal matters for a total of 507 cases so far this year.

Of the total 507 filings for 2019, 283 have been for people charged with misdemeanors, 124 have been for someone charged with a Level 6 or higher felony and 94 have been for case-related concerns, such as search warrants, probation transfers and post-conviction relief requests.

Between Monday and Friday, the 20 cases the prosecutor’s office filed included 14 misdemeanors, one case-related filing and five cases with at least one Level 6 felony charge.

A Level 6 felony carries a potential sentence of six months to a year.

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Joshua B. Tull, 34, of the 12000 block of West Circle Drive, Monticello, was charged with one count of theft. According to court documents, Tull attempted to steal a pair of items from Walmart in Monticello.

Documents state that on Aug. 10, a store employee witnessed Tull remove a bottle of beard growth solution from a box and place it in his pocket. Documents state Tull purchased other items, but not the item he’s alleged to have placed in his pocket.

A store employee stopped Tull at the main grocery entrance/exit and discovered Tull also had a hose nozzle, for which he did not pay, in his possession, according to the probable cause affidavit. The items, the document states, were worth $34.91.

Due to a previous conviction in October 2013, an enhancement was placed on the theft charge, raising it from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony.

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Matthew D. Hart, 44, of the 1300 block of North Chamber Estates Drive, Delphi, was charged with one count of unlawful possession of syringe, a Level 6 felony; one count of driving while suspended, a Class A misdemeanor; two counts of possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Hart was stopped Aug. 6 for traveling left of center and running off the roadway along southbound County Road 150 West, just south of CR 700 South. Upon a check via the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Hart’s driving privileges had been revoked.

A K-9 was brought to the scene and alerted to the presence of a narcotics odor from the vehicle.

According to court documents, a deputy on the scene found a syringe on top of the center console between the front seats and a pill bottle containing 10 tablets amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance, and one tablet of acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate in a storage compartment near the radio.

Documents state Hart told deputies he had used the syringe to inject methamphetamine and also claimed ownership of the pills.

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Michael E. Gibbs Jr., 39, of the 400 block of South Railroad Street, Monticello, was charged with one count of use of false information to obtain a handgun.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the incident occurred July 14 at Rural King in Monticello. Gibbs, the document states, placed two guns, one shotgun and one handgun on layaway, signing an ATF form required for a Firearms Transaction Record. The document states Gibbs marked “no” for the question, “Are you subject to a court order restraining you from harassing, stalking or threatening your child or an intimate partner or a child of such partner?”

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According to court documents, an order was issued in White County Circuit Court that included an adult female, and mother of a child in common with Gibbs. During a court hearing Nov. 6, 2018, the child was removed as a protected party but the order for the mother remains in effect until Oct. 18, 2020.

Because Gibbs attended that hearing, court documents state it was determined that he had knowledge of the order that prohibits him from purchasing a firearm and that he “knowingly and intentionally made a false statement on the ATF form in order to unlawfully purchase a firearm.”

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Jennifer A. Esposito, 30, of the 100 block of West 5th Street, Monon, was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony; one count of possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Esposito was pulled over on Washington Street, near the intersection of Sixth Street in Monticello, for taillight, brake light and turn signals not being in operation. A K-9 was brought to the scene and detected an odor on the right side front passenger door of Esposito’s vehicle.

According to court documents, a search of the vehicle uncovered a small green bag inside a purse sitting on the passenger seat. Deputies located a clear glass smoking pipe with burnt residue inside of it, two capped syringes — one of which contained a small amount of a clear liquid substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine, and a round black mental grinder commonly used for marijuana.

The court document states Esposito admitted to ownership of the purse but denied having any illegal drugs or paraphernalia in it, stating that it was not hers and she does not use drugs.

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The Herald Journal doesn’t publish information about charges where a warrant is waiting to be served for the safety of law enforcement personnel and to avoid alerting suspects. We also do not publish accounts of domestic abuse – except in cases with extreme or unusual circumstances – to preserve the privacy of the alleged victims.

All information in the court beat is obtained through the White County court files. All suspects are considered innocent unless proven guilty.