Elkhart man contests conviction

Andrew Rodgers

GOSHEN — A professional boxer from Elkhart was arrested Thursday for an alleged probation violation, even as he appeals the conviction that got him sentenced in the first place.

Andrew Rodgers, 27, was convicted of maintaining a common nuisance, a Level 6 felony, following an April 15 jury trial. He was found not guilty of all other charges, including cocaine possession as a Level 6 felony.

Rodgers was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison, all suspended. He filed a notice of appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals on June 11. 

He told the Elkhart Truth this month that his house was raided without reason before his arrest and that he fought for his innocence for two years while being pressed to take a plea deal. He considers his acquittal on the cocaine dealing charge a win and said he is trying to stand up for what is right.

Court documents show that Elkhart County drug investigation officers sought a warrant to search a Prairie Street residence in May 2017. They based the request on saying they identified Rodgers as someone who came and went from the apartment several times, and as someone who met with another individual in what they believe was a drug deal. 

Rodgers attempted to have his April trial postponed so he could compete in a boxing match.

“This is my career, boxing is what keeps me going,” he wrote to Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno. “It’s what supports me and my family.”

After his conviction, Rodgers was sentenced the following month. A warrant for his arrest was issued Aug. 1, with bond set at $10,000, for alleged violations of the terms of his probation.

Those included allegedly testing positive for THC in a drug screen.

He also refused to sign the terms of his probation during a June 17 appointment. He later signed the document, but included a handwritten note saying he wasn’t signing willingly but was forced to do so. 

Rodgers was in Elkhart County Circuit Court Thursday to address the alleged probation violation. Christofeno had him taken into custody on the warrant and set a follow-up hearing for Sept. 5.

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