Elkhart man convicted of robbery, kidnapping gets 76 years in prison

Tyrone Winkleman was convicted of robbery, kidnapping and criminal confinement following a two-day trial in March.

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 6:28 p.m.

GOSHEN — An Elkhart man facing up to 150 years in prison for robbery, kidnapping and criminal confinement was sentenced to about half of that maximum.

Tyrone Winkleman, 34, was accused of beating 68-year-old James Armagost, robbing him and driving him around the city in July 2013. He was sentenced Thursday, April 17, in Elkhart Circuit Court to a total of 76 years in prison. 

Winkleman was found guilty of robbery, kidnapping, criminal confinement and carjacking following a two-day trial in March. During the trial he also admitted to being a habitual criminal offender.

During the sentencing hearing, Winkleman's attorney Clifford Williams told the court his client was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder at age 8. Winkleman is also known to have rage compulsion, his attorney said. 

Yet Winkleman was respectful and calm throughout all his court proceedings, including his trial, Williams said. 

Deputy prosecutor Don Pitzer argued that Winkleman has had a violent criminal history, and that the violence he used against Armagost was over the top. Not only did Winkleman rob an army veteran who was in his 60s, but he also caused serious injuries when he punched him, Pitzer said.

"The injuries are some of the worst I've ever seen on someone who hasn't died," he said. 

Pitzer also talked about Armagost's testimony, in which the victim said he thought he would die. During trial, Armagost said Winkleman told him they would drive to Florida to deliver Armagost's load. At that moment, Armagost thought Winkleman would just kill him and leave him in "one of the many swamps" in Florida once the load was delivered. 

Judge Terry Shewmaker took into consideration Winkleman's criminal history, his actions during the robbery and kidnapping of Armagost, and the victim's health issues. The judge weighed those against Winkleman's mental health problems and his behavior during the court proceedings. 

While Winkleman got about half of the maximum sentence he could have received, he now faces charges from a robbery that took place earlier in the day July 24, 2013. 

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in Elkhart Circuit Court with the new charges, police were called the afternoon of July 24, 2013, to Studio 327 on North Main Street for reports of a robbery.

An employee and a customer told police a man went into the hair salon asking to get his beard trimmed. Once inside, the man pulled a knife and told the employee to give him all the money in the salon. 

The suspect ordered the employee and the customer into a closet and pushed a dryer chair and a mini refrigerator in front of the closet door. 

An Indiana State Police analysis matched fingerprints taken from the refrigerator to Winkleman's.

Winkleman is charged with robbery and criminal confinement in the new case. A habitual criminal offender enhancement has also been added to his charges. is next hearing has been scheduled for June 19. 

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