GOSHEN — A Middlebury woman received a sentence of 14 years after admitting to drug and forgery charges.

Lindsey Kurtz, 24, pleaded guilty to dealing methamphetamine as a Level 4 felony as well as two counts of forgery, a Level 6 felony, in three separate cases in May. A charge of dealing meth as a Level 3 felony was dismissed.

The sentence she received Thursday on the three charges includes a total of six years in prison, four years on probation and four years in an Elkhart County Community Corrections program.

She was arrested for the forgery charges in April and August 2018 and charged with the two meth crimes in September. The forgery charges alleged that Kurtz used fraudulent checks to withdraw $975.83 at a Goshen bank in January 2018 and $897 at a check-cashing store in March 2018. 

The drug charges were the result of two undercover purchases of meth from Kurtz that were arranged by the Elkhart County Intelligence and Covert Enforcement unit in early and mid February 2018. Police said she sold 6.4 grams of meth in one instance and 3.2 grams of meth in the other.

Elkhart County Deputy Prosecutor Katelan Doyle described Kurtz’s charges as “a crime spree fueled by addiction.” She indicated that by pleading guilty to the lower level drug charge, Kurtz reduced her potential prison time from a maximum of 16 years to a maximum of 12 years. 

Kurtz’s attorney, Chris Petersen, said his client started a drug treatment program and has been clean and sober for nine months. Kurtz told the judge she doesn’t see herself as a danger to the community and asked to be placed on home monitoring so she could keep in touch with her daughter.

But Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno said that would leave out the punishment aspect of a sentence. He asked if she wanted to raise her daughter to believe there were no consequences for one’s actions.

“You admit to doing a Level 4 felony and don’t think you should do time?” he said. “There’s no way in good conscience that I can put you on home detention when you committed a Level 4 felony. I think you know that. Deep down you know that.”

Hearings postponed

Also Thursday, Christofeno postponed hearings in three high-profile cases involving murder and attempted-murder charges. Those included:

n The sentencing for 16-year-old Byron Harris Jr., which was reset to July 11. A jury convicted Harris on June 5 of attempted murder, a Level 1 felony that carries a punishment of up to 40 years in prison, for shooting a man in the leg outside an Elkhart apartment in June 2018.

n A hearing to determine whether good-behavior credit time should be given to 24-year-old Cody Garman, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, a Level 5 felony, for his involvement in the death of a 66-year-old former Goshen city councilman in May 2017.

Garman was charged with murder, but a jury decided on the lesser crime, for which he received a six-year sentence. An Indiana Court of Appeals decision returned him to court in Elkhart County for Christofeno to reconsider his decision not to award a time credit of one day for every three days he spent in jail awaiting trial.

An attorney for Garman did not attend the hearing Thursday. Christofeno appointed him a public defender for now, and set a July 11 hearing to determine what their next steps should be.

n An evidence suppression hearing for 23-year-old Winston Corbett, whose attorney is arguing against the use of DNA evidence that allegedly tied him to the killing of a Goshen College professor in October 2011. His attorney also did not attend the hearing.

Christofeno said a new hearing will likely be scheduled in August.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.