Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Court denies modification of sentence for Elkhart man
Posted on June 30, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — Jon Hicks will remain in the Department of Correction for now, after the court declined to modify his placement of sentence.

Elkhart Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker issued an order last week, in which he wrote “the court will not modify the placement of the sentence of Mr. Hicks. The Court will, however, review placement in the Community Transition Program.”

Hicks was involved in a car crash Feb. 5, 2008, near the intersection of McDonald and Richmond streets in Elkhart. The driver in the other vehicle, Sara Martinez, 22, lost her unborn child during the crash and died a month later from her injuries.

Hicks was sentenced in 2010 to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and causing the death of another while operating a vehicle.

In a hearing June 12, Hicks asked for a change of location for where he would continue his sentence. Hicks and his wife were present at the hearing, as were the family of the victims.

Hicks told the court he worked in the prison law library, tutored other inmates and enrolled in classes while in prison. His record does not indicate any conduct violations.

Hicks asked if he could be placed in the “Servants of the Street” program. Servants of the Street is a care ministry in Elkhart that focuses on tobacco, alcohol, drug and sex addictions. But the program is not covered by the Elkhart County Community Corrections.

Valerie Hicks, Jon Hicks’s wife, testified, saying she has been supportive of her husband. She told the court she did not believe he was at risk to re-offend.

Four of Martinez’s family members testified. They were opposed to the modification arguing that Hicks had not spent enough time in prison, and that it would be unfair for the court to modify his sentence after he had served only three years of it.

Hicks had been convicted twice of misdemeanor offenses and once of a felony. He had been ordered to undergo treatment once. After completing the treatment, he continued to drink, he admitted to the court.

In his ruling, Shewmaker wrote there is no way of accurately knowing where Hicks is on the rehabilitation spectrum, nor whether Hicks will re-offend.

“All sentencing decisions impact both the defendant and the family,” said Shewmaker in his ruling. “Likewise, they impact the victim’s family. These decisions are difficult.”

Hicks was sent back to the Department of Correction facility in Westville shortly after his sentence modification hearing.