Court beat

From Feb. 1-5, 2021, the White County Prosecutor’s Office filed 18 cases related to criminal matters for a total of 130 cases so far this year. They include nine misdemeanors, five case-related filings and four cases with at least one Level 6 felony charge.

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

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Brad A. Cox Jr., 31, of the 7100 block of Madison Avenue, Indianapolis, was charged Feb. 1 with one count of auto theft, a Level 6 felony, with an enhancement for habitual felony criminal offender for previous unrelated convictions — all in Marion County — for unlawful possession of a syringe (August 2017), domestic battery with a prior conviction (November 2018), invasion of privacy with a prior conviction (April 2019) and escape (January 2021); and one count of false reporting, a Class B misdemeanor. After responding to a multiple vehicle crash Jan. 31 on Indiana 43 south of Brookston, police stated in a probable cause affidavit that Cox, driving a black 2006 Jeep involved in the crash, provided a name, date of birth and Social Security number that were not his. Police were alerted that the Jeep had been reported stolen in Lafayette and Cox was taken into custody.

Christopher W. Peace Jr., 22, of the 33200 block of County Brook Street, Columbus, was charged Feb. 3 with one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, a Level 6 felony; and one count of operating a vehicle with an ACE of 0.15 or more, a Class A misdemeanor. Prosecutors are seeking an enhancement due to a previous conviction in Bartholomew County for operating while intoxicated in December 2020. Court records state Peace Jr. registered a 0.188 blood alcohol concentration when stopped by Brookston Police on Jan. 14 for driving left of center and weaving within lane.

Santos Gonzalez, 30, of the 4200 block of East Lake Road, Monticello, was charged Feb. 3 with one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, a Level 6 felony; and one count of operating a vehicle with an ACE of 0.15 or more, a Level 6 felony. Prosecutors are seeking an enhancement due to a previous conviction in Hidalgo County, Texas, for operating while intoxicated in December 2015. Court records state Gonzalez registered a 0.304 blood alcohol concentration when stopped by the White County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 20, 2020, for driving 45 mph in a 35 mph zone, and driving left of center, along US 24 near Idaville.

Ryan M. Bazaldua, 30, of the 700 block of Christy Lane, Schererville, was charged Feb. 4 with one count of residential entry, a Level 6 felony; one count of possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony; and one count of possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. Prosecutors are seeking habitual offender status because of prior unrelated convictions — all in Porter County — for theft (October 2009), possession of a controlled substance (April 2013), and strangulation and domestic battery (November 2017). Prosecutors are also seeking an enhancement to the possession of paraphernalia charge because of a prior conviction in Porter County for possession of paraphernalia in October 2020.

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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.

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

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