SOUTH BEND — St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jerome Frese on Wednesday modified the sentence of Maria Stancati, a former Elkhart teacher, ordering her to be placed on probation.
She and her sister, Michelle Stancati, were arrested after a meth lab caught fire in their South Bend home in 2008.
The sisters admitted to being meth users and in May 2009, pleaded guilty to dealing meth within 1,000 feet of school property. Their home was within 1,000 feet of Riley High School, Stanley Clark School and Monroe Primary Center.
Both were special education teachers in Elkhart Community Schools prior to their arrests — Maria at Memorial High School and Michelle at North Side Middle School.
Maria originally received a 32-year sentence, which was suspended. She then was ordered to serve 20 years in the Indiana Department of Correction as a condition of probation. Michelle was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 20 of those years suspended.
In August 2010, Judge Frese ordered Maria to be released from prison and transferred to the Dismas House residential facility in South Bend. The St. Joseph County prosecutor's office objected to the judge's decision.
Now Frese has terminated Maria's placement at Dismas House and Ducomb Center, again over the prosecutor's objection.
The judge ordered Maria to be on reporting probation through June 16, 2029, and required her to submit to random drug and alcohol testing.
She is “not to purchase any precursors for manufacturing meth unless she has a written prescription from a physician,” the judge wrote in his order.
The original arrests of Maria and Michelle Stancati in November 2008
After a guilty plea, Maria and Michelle Stancati are sentenced on meth charges
The Elkhart Community Schools corporation terminates the teaching contracts of the Stancatis in December 2008
Maria's sentence was modified and she was released after 14 months in jail in August 2010