Elkhart robbery, kidnapping victim testifies during trial

The victim of a robbery and kidnapping incident in Elkhart received severe injuries. 

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 3:19 a.m. | Updated on March 26, 2014 at 5:14 p.m.

GOSHEN — James Armagost didn't really know anyone in Elkhart when he stopped at the Budget Inn for the night. When he saw a stranger who appeared to be having a seizure, Armagost tried to help, in turn getting punched, robbed and kidnapped.

Armagost, an Army veteran who now works transporting trailers and lives in Tennessee, was Tyrone Winkleman's victim the night of July 25, 2013.

Armagost testified to the jury Tuesday, March 25, during the first day of trial for Winkleman, who is charged with robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, kidnapping, criminal confinement and carjacking. The prosecutor's office also added a habitual criminal enhancement.

During the first day of trial, a jury was chosen by 12:15 p.m. and opening statements were given at about 1:30 p.m., said Don Pitzer, one the prosecuting attorneys in the case.

Two of the responding officers at the incident testified Tuesday afternoon. Armagost was able to testify Tuesday afternoon as well.

Armagost recounted the incident from the moment he arrived at the hotel. That night Armagost got a room and started to unpack from his pickup truck.

Armagost said that during one of his trips to and from his truck, he saw a man, Winkleman, bent over who said "help me, buddy." Armagost was planning to call 911, but when he put his hand on the stranger's back Winkleman punched him in the face.

Winkleman took Armagost to his room and tried to tie him up with some towels. After his failed attempts, Winkleman took Armagost's truck keys and drove Armagost to a mobile home park. At that location, Winkleman left Armagost in a shed behind a house for a while, before coming back with some sandwiches.

Armagost told the jury Winkleman picked up a friend and then they stopped at a liquor store before heading back to the hotel.

At the hotel, Armagost convinced Winkleman to let him stay outside while Winkleman and his friend had sex. Armagost was able to escape to a nearby McDonald's where he met with an officer and told him what he had just experienced.

Armagost told the jury that on numerous occasions that night he thought he was going to die.

Armagost said he refused to go to the hospital at first, because of how much it would cost him to be treated. However, the morning after the assault, Armagost realized he had not stopped bleeding, and called an ambulance.

He told the jury he had more than 30 pieces of bone in his nose as a result of the injury he received.

Winkleman's second day of trial starts at 8:30 a.m.Wednesday morning in Elkhart Circuit Court.


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