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June 1, 2017 • Headline News
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Milan man given home incarceration for strangulation, domestic charges

Wanda English Burnett

According to court records Paul Reynolds Jr., 46, Milan, pled guilty to Strangulation, a Level 6 Felony, and Domestic Battery, a Class A Misdemeanor. The charges stem from a physical domestic situation in September 2016. Reynolds was sentenced to 910 days on the Strangulation charge and 365 on the battery. According to Ryan Marshall, deputy prosecutor, there was no plea agreement, only that the defendant would plead guilty. Marshall said the defendant agreed to plead guilty the day trial was to begin. The prosecutor said he felt that the victim was better served by not having to testify and that is what led him to the decision to agree with the plea. The prosecutor said he asked for an 18-month jail sentence and one year suspended, but instead Superior Court Judge Jeff Sharp sentenced Reynolds to 905 days of home incarceration.

Due to Reynolds’ prior criminal record, which includes cruelty to animals, public intoxication, operating while intoxicated and check deception, the State argued he should be incarcerated. Jenny Wise, assistant director of court services, noted that being on home incarceration doesn’t mean a free ride to roam. She told The Versailles Republican those given that option, have a bracelet that monitors their every move 24 hours a day, seven days a week by GPS. They have to report weekly, look for a job, and perform community service if not employed. Wise said, “They have constant supervision”. She said employees of the Court Services division for the county get alerts to their phones if the person being monitored isn’t where they are supposed to be. Treatment also could be included in someone’s home incarceration, depending on what they’re involved with. It could be drug, alcohol, anger management etc. And, there’s weekly drug/alcohol tests the defendants must submit to.

Court records note that when police arrived on the initial call for Reynolds, it was a violent scene where Reynolds had chased and trapped the victim. He placed both hands on the victim’s neck and choked her by applying pressure to her neck. After she said she couldn’t breath and couldn’t say anything, Reynolds stopped, grabbed a knife and cut himself on his head. When police arrived, Reynolds was combative and told officers he would beat them while they were handcuffing him. He dug his feet into the ground and refused to walk. Police escorted him to the patrol car with their arms under the defendant’s arms lifting them up to make him walk as Reynolds was trying to pull away.

The Judgment of Conviction and Sentencing Order noted that Reynolds “shall serve a portion of the sentence on Ripley County Community Corrections, shall comply with all recommendations, obey all rules and conditions of said program and pay all fees associated with said program.” The defendant is to not have contact with the victim. If he violates the conditions of community corrections he could still serve time in jail. Prosecuting Attorney Ric Hertel, commented that domestic violence cases such as this are often the most dangerous and unpredictable. They can often escalate with or without cause potentially leading to an even greater tragedy. He further stated that while home detention remains an alternative that the State is willing to consider, violent actions such as this are not appropriate for the State to recommend to a period of Home Detention, citing that the risk is too great.

Napoleon residents evacuated following gas spill last week

Wanda English Burnett

Residents in Napoleon were evacuated last Thursday, May 25, after a gas spill occurred around 6:53 p.m. at the Marathon on US 421. Members of the Napoleon Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call to discover gasoline in the town’s sewage system. They immediately evacuated the houses in close proximity to the gas station. Napoleon Fire Chief Ron Reynolds said an unknown amount of gas was leaking or spilled from a tank at the gas station. The fuel spilled into a creek or the sewage system. He noted that the town’s drinking water was not affected.

Chief Reynolds later told The Versailles Republican that the leak was caused from the tanks at the gas station being overfilled from the transport company bringing gas to the station. The station’s tanks were not faulty. Residents were able to return to their homes around 10 p.m. after the explosion hazard was cleared. The Napoleon Fire Department was on the scene the next day as well from about 7 a.m. until noon when the gas station could open again for business according to Reynolds.

The Indiana Department of Environment and Ripley County Emergency Management Agency was on the scene. The amount of spilled gasoline was unknown.

Holton residents without power after accident

Wanda English Burnett

EMS and police responded to a one-vehicle crash on Saturday, May 27 in Holton in the morning hours. According to information from Deputy Conrad Reichert III, Kelsey Brown, 28, overcorrected and crashed her vehicle while headed eastbound on US 50. The vehicle left the roadway and broke an electric pole near the Intersection of US 50 and Harriet Street. She was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and sustained injuries to her legs, torso and head. She was transported to Jennings County Hospital by Rescue 69.

A five-year-old passenger in the vehicle appeared to have a minor head wound and was also taken to Jennings County Hospital by Ripley County EMS Squad 1. Brandon Ray, 33, a third passenger, refused treatment at the scene and left.

This crash caused residents of Holton to be without power for about three hours Saturday afternoon as Duke Energy crews fixed the broken power pole.
Agencies responding to the scene included the sheriff’s department, Indiana State Police, Rescue 69, Ripley County EMS, Jennings County EMS and the Holton Fire Department.

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