ELKHART COUNTY COURTS: Sentence given in narcotics case

May 16—GOSHEN — A man charged with possession of meth was given a sentence totaling six years during Elkhart County Circuit Court Thursday.

Trevor A. Collings, 25, South Bend, was arrested March 17, 2023, after he allegedly crashed his car into a light pole on the U.S. bypass.

Police received a call that a concerned citizen was following the vehicle after the crash as it headed southbound on South Main Street in Elkhart and into the McDonald's parking lot. The officer arrived at the restaurant and asked the man, Collings, to come outside to speak with him, noting the smell of marijuana on him.

The man said he was not drinking alcohol but did admit to the accident and was arrested. A search of the vehicle found 32 grams of meth, 12 grams of marijuana blunts, 64 grams of marijuana bud, a container of THC wax, and a black scale.

He was charged with Dealing in Meth, a Level 2 Felony; Possession of Marijuana, a Level 6 Felony; Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, a Class C Misdemeanor; and Leaving the Scene of an Accident, a Class B Misdemeanor.

During sentencing, prosecution, defense, and Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno commented on the progress Collings made against addiction during his time in jail.

"The change in you physically and mentally is striking — you no longer are under the devastation of drugs," Christofeno said.

Christofeno told him he hoped to keep it that way, sentencing him by plea agreement to six years at the Indiana Department of Corrections for Possession of Meth, a Level 5 Felony; and one year for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Endangerment, to be served concurrently.


James L. Anthony, 60, was sentenced to seven years on probation for several drug charges back in 2022.

An officer pulled him Feb. 9, 2022, over near Ind. 120 and C.R. 19 for failing to signal before turning. He smelled marijuana in the vehicle and asked Anthony and his passenger to exit the vehicle. Anthony, a Michigan resident, told the officer he'd forgotten they were in Indiana where it was illegal, but that the smell was most likely from when he'd smoked earlier. He told the officer he had two jars of marijuana in the vehicle but nothing else. The vehicle was reported stolen out of Michigan, but Anthony said his brother had loaned it to him.

Upon a search of the vehicle, officers found coffee filters with meth, baggies of marijuana, the two jars Anthony mentioned, a bag of meth, a bag of mushrooms, a bag of glass pipes, more empty baggies, a digital scale, another bag of pipes, and a gun with ammo. The meth totaled out to 31.2 grams, the marijuana to 86.3 grams, and the mushrooms to 11.02 grams. The handgun was also reported stolen out of a different county in Michigan.


A man will spend several years in prison after apparently entering into a relationship with a teenager last year.

Dillion Stansberry was sentenced in Elkhart County Superior Court 3 to two counts of Sexual Misconduct With A Minor. He was also sentenced for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, having a history of acts involving juveniles.

Stansberry, 24, was arrested on Sept. 30, 2023, after police were called to Calvary Assembly of God, 1010 E. Mishawaka Rd., for an alarm check. Behind the building, they found Stansberry and a 14-year-old girl intertwined, but clothed. They claimed to be siblings but the officer later determined that was a lie and the girl was a runaway.

When the girl's dad arrived on the scene, he told police that another officer was already working on a case regarding Stansberry and his daughter. The two met through social media and officers confirmed they communicated romantically and sexually via phone regularly.

In the pre-sentence investigation report, Stansberry claimed that the girl had initially lied about her age and when he learned how young she was, broke off the relationship, but when she ran away, they had sexual encounters again. Stansberry did not make any statement at his sentencing.

Stansberry was sentenced to 12 years each for Counts 1 and 2, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, a Level 4 Felony, with six years to be served at the Indiana Department of Corrections, four years on alternative placement, and two years on probation; and for Count 3, Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, 2.5 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections, All counts are to be served concurrently.


Dominick Jones, 40, Elkhart, was supposed to be sentenced in court Thursday but Elkhart Superior Court 3 Judge Teresa Cataldo decided to reschedule his sentencing due to Jones' alleged mental health. It wasn't the first time.

"I apologize but unfortunately I find it necessary to make sure that everybody's rights are addressed," Cataldo told the family who was in person at the sentencing hearing.

Jones is accused of raping a family member who was 13 at the time.

The victim allegedly told hospital staff that Jones had touched her on numerous occasions and had her perform oral sex on him.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Majerik asked for another continuance, explaining that Jones didn't seem to understand the presentence investigation paperwork.

"At this point, we have significant concerns about his ability to cooperate in sentencing with us," Jones said.

Majerik also noted that even at the beginning of proceedings, there were concerns about his competency, which is why he was sent to a state hospital for evaluation and recovery.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Munro claimed that phone calls and incidents at the jail, as well as Jones' own ability to write his own motions, indicated that Jones might be faking the symptoms.

Cataldo appointed psychologists to evaluate Jones for competency.

A competency hearing is scheduled for June 20.


Wiliam C. Merry, 60, was sentenced to serve a total of six years at the Indiana Department of Corrections for a charge of dealing meth, but the consequence of being charged also meant revoking his placement on probation.

Merry was stopped by police for failing to signal and having window tint violations at West Saint Joseph Street and Maple Street in Bristol.

The officer said when he arrived at the vehicle, he smelled marijuana and had Merry exit the vehicle while he requested a K-9 unit and searched Merry. On him, he found a canister with a bag of meth in it. He claimed he did not know the container had meth in it, and claimed he does not use marijuana but said he would fail a drug test despite being on probation at the time. He said it was due to his medications but also said, "You know I'm high," according to a probable cause affidavit.

The K-9 unit found a purse in the passenger's seat with marijuana in it. Merry claimed the purse belonged to a woman he was helping move. There were also several empty plastic bags, which Merry said, according to the affidavit, were from "when he was (doing) things he should not have been doing." Merry was on probation at the time.

During sentencing on Thursday, Merry asked Elkhart County Superior Court 3 Judge Teresa Cataldo for leniency, given his medical conditions. Cataldo did not agree.

Merry was sentenced to 16 years with 6 to be served at the Indiana Department of Corrections and 10 years on reporting probation; as well an additional 10 years when his probation was revoked.


A pretrial conference was held for a man accused of murder last fall.

Roosevelt Lewis, Jr., 39, is accused of the murder of Tom Moser III Sept. 21.

The call came in at 3:24 a.m. for sounds of gunfire at 516 S. Fifth St., Elkhart, and a man running from the scene. Police found Lewis Roosevelt nearby in clothing matching the original witness description, which was jeans and a sweatshirt, and attempted to stop him, but he refused and was tased. They also found the body of Moser, who appeared to have been shot numerous times, in the entryway of the apartment home at 516 S. Fifth Street.'

Lewis was charged with murder, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, criminal recklessness, intimidation, and resisting law enforcement.

Lewis was also charged with an attempted murder in 2003.

Public defender Matthew Johnson noted that they've entered discovery on the case, but have no further updates. Lewis' jury trial remains scheduled for Aug.12 , with a trial status conference scheduled for Aug.1.

The state also noted that they would be filing a firearms enhancement.


A mother is facing criminal charges after she brought her malnourished baby to the hospital in December 2022.

Brittney J. Dickens, 34, arrived at Elkhart General Hospital with her three-month-old baby Dec. 4, 2022. Doctors noted that all of the baby's ribs were showing, clothing dirty, diaper was filled with dried excrement, and frostbite on his foot.

Dickens allegedly told hospital staff, "I don't change diapers."

A doctor said the child's condition was life-threatening and transferred him to Riley Children's Hospital where he was discharged to a foster home later that month.

Riley determined the child had severe malnutrition, dehydration, septic shock, renal failure, and a blood infection, and tested positive for Yersinia and rhinovirus. Due to the blood infection, his leg had to be amputated below the knee.

Dickens was charged with Neglect of a Dependent, a Level 3 Felony.

Dickens is scheduled for jury trial Aug. 12, with a pretrial conference Aug. 1.


A man charged with auto theft had a hearing in Elkhart County Circuit Court Thursday. He did not attend, but his defense attorney Bridgette Faulkner did.

Zackary L. Freel, 27, was arrested on April 15 after police saw him driving a white Ford van that matched a similar vehicle stolen from AJS Plumbing in Goshen.

When police attempted to stop the vehicle in the 200 block of Olive Street, the driver jumped out and began toward the squad car. The officer handcuffed him, noting a gun in his pocket. Freel admitted that the gun was stolen as well.

Forest River reported the van missing from their property since its delivery on April 6 but Freel said he'd been living in the van for two weeks. Police also found a syringe of meth and fentanyl pills in the van.

During his hearing, the bond hearing was waived, but a further proceedings hearing was scheduled for July 11. A jury trial is scheduled for Dec. 16 with a trial status conference scheduled for Nov. 24.

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at dani.messick@goshennews.com or at 574-538-2065.