GOSHEN — An Elkhart man facing a 100-year sentence will appear for his sentencing hearing Thursday, May 23, in the Elkhart Circuit Court.
Jose Alejandro, 21, was convicted of attempted murder following a jury trial in April. The jury also agreed to add a criminal gang enhancement that would double Alejandro’s sentence on the attempted murder conviction.
Alejandro was arrested July 4, 2012, for his involvement in the shooting of Flavio Contreras, then 19, of Elkhart, on May 23, 2012. Several witnesses, including the victim, testified in the case.
Contreras told the court Alejandro went to his house that night to ask him where a friend of his was. Alejandro and three other people then took Contreras to a desolate area of the county and shot him five times.
Prosecuting attorneys also showed photographs of Alejandro making hand signs affiliated to the gang Latin Kings. They brought a certified gang specialist to talk about the hand signs and tattoos on Alejandro, and explained how those are affiliated with the gang.
Other hearings Thursday in Circuit Court:
Larry Hewitt, 43, of Middlebury, agreed to a sentence of 6 1/2 years in prison when he pleaded guilty to reckless homicide. Another count he was charged with, involuntary manslaughter, was dismissed.
Hewitt was charged in the death of Charles Wolfinger, 53, of Elkhart. Wolfinger’s body was pulled out of the Elkhart River behind a shopping center shortly before 9 p.m. July 17, 2012.
Hewitt was arrested in mid-January in West Memphis, Ark., and extradited to Indiana.
Hewitt said he was drinking with a friend in Elkhart when the two began fighting in the Elkhart River behind the shopping center on Jackson Boulevard. Hewitt said Wolfinger became unresponsive. Hewitt panicked and left.
Wolfinger died of multiple blunt force injuries, possible drowning and acute intoxication, according to court files. Wolfinger had injuries to his head and torso, including broken ribs and injuries to internal organs.
Terry Sheets, 26, of Elkhart, will appear in court for a pretrial conference. Sheets is charged with murder, after he allegedly shot and killed 24-year-old Matthew Bark.
Sheets was arrested April 20, only hours after Bark’s death. Sheets claimed to be defending Bark’s girlfriend and himself.
Sheets shot at Bark five times, hitting him twice, during an altercation the morning of April 20.
Leeshawn Rodgers, 19, of Elkhart, will appear for his initial hearing. Rodgers has been charged with the murder of Eddie Johnson, 34, and faces up to 60 years in prison.
Johnson was shot and killed April 30 near Sixth Street and Cleveland Avenue in Elkhart. The Elkhart County coroner said Johnson died of multiple gunshot wounds. Witnesses told police they saw Johnson and Rodgers going around the corner of the house on Cleveland and Sixth before hearing gunshots. They saw Johnson struggling with Rodgers, and then they saw Rodgers run from the scene.