Attorney seeks to have evidence tossed in Stancati meth case

Former teacher Michelle Stancati's attorney wants an Elkhart County judge to throw out methamphetamine evidence against Stancati before she goes on trial on an accusation she tried to make methamphetamine in 2009 at her girlfriend's Goshen-area home.

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — Michelle Stancati’s attorney wants a judge to throw out evidence that led to charges she tried to make methamphetamine in her girlfriend’s Goshen home in 2009.

David Newman, attorney for the former Elkhart teacher, argues that cold medicine and camping fuel found in her SUV and a drug ledger in her purse early March 4, 2009, shouldn’t go to the jury.

Newman argues the fact that the vehicle wasn’t specifically listed on a search warrant for the house means police should’ve gotten another warrant when they saw the drug precursors inside.

Peter Britton, deputy prosecutor, argued to Judge George Biddlecome that the circumstances allowed for the search.

Two undercover officers testified at the hearing that they’d already served the warrant at the home of Lashalle Kitch at 22043 C.R. 45 and found nobody home, but they found an active meth lab inside.

They also found Stancati’s diplomas and other evidence she was living there, four months after she was arrested with her sister in St. Joseph County for meth making.

When Stancati pulled up with Kitch, the cops saw the camping fuel and the cold medicine inside and arrested the two women.

One of the officers said he talked with Stancati — who’d lost her job as a special education teacher at North Side Middle School in Elkhart — about her wasting her life, and he asked her what led to her making the drug.

“Both of them, they were manufacturing to support their habit,” the officer testified. “She was speaking about how meth was essential to her self-medication,” along with liberal use of a prescription drug, the officer said Wednesday.

Biddlecome said he needs a few months to decide the issue.

Stancati’s already serving a 20-year sentence in the St. Joseph County case. She faces up to 50 years in prison on the Elkhart County charge.


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