Teen sentenced to home detention, probation after plea in Union Township shooting

Dakota Martinez-Kestle,19, who pled guilty to reckless homicide, a Level 5 felony, in the October 2022 shooting death of Andrew Lenahan, 18, in Union Township, was sentenced Friday by Porter Superior Court Judge Mary DeBoer to four years in the Indiana Department of Correction with three years on home detention and one year suspended to formal probation.

The court also accepted the aggravating factor that she committed the offense in the presence of a juvenile, age 17. Martinez-Kestle was herself 17 at the time of the shooting.

“Defendant shall maintain mental health therapy and take all medications as prescribed throughout the duration of her sentence,” the sentencing documents state. Martinez-Kestle will also be required to receive a Porter County Alcohol & Drug Offender Services evaluation and pay for its administration.

She will also pay restitution of $5,598.90 in monthly installments and a School Safety Fee of $500.

“This case was very difficult for all involved,” Ken Elwood, Martinez-Kestle’s attorney, has said, adding that if the court accepted the plea, justice was served. “Multiple people that night made very poor decisions, but no sentence will bring the young man back to life. Every young person involved with this will suffer from this the rest of their lives.”

Martinez-Kestle had been waived to adult court. She submitted a plea agreement in March, admitting to shooting Lenahan in the head from about 5 feet away, according to court documents.

At the time of the shooting, Lenahan had recently moved to Gary from Savannah, Georgia for a job as a union pipefitter. He was gathered with a group of six other teens who were drinking and showing off their firearms at the time of the shooting, according to court documents.

Three of the teens gathered around a bar area, including Lenahan, “all took out their Glock firearms and dismantled them. They were showing each other the firearms and swapping slides back and forth,” documents state.

The group put their firearms down after about 20 minutes, the homeowner told police. He said Lenahan replaced the magazine into his firearm and set it on the top of the bar.

Around 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2022 the Porter County Sheriff’s Office received a call that a male subject with a gunshot wound to the head was in a pole barn in the 600 block of County Road 100 North in Union Township.

The homeowner observed Martinez-Kestle step back around the front side of the bar and pick up Lenahan’s firearm. “She did not say anything as she pulled the slide back and chambered a live round,” documents state.

“(Martinez-Kestle) stepped in front of Andrew and pointed the firearm at his head and pulled the trigger. The gun fired and struck Andrew who immediately fell to the ground,” documents state.

She “became hysterical and passed out from the shock,” according to the filing, and while the homeowner was trying to provide aid to Lenehan and call 911, Martinez-Kestle and a friend fled the property on foot. Police responded to the home of her father in Crown Point and he confirmed Martinez-Kestle was there but refused to speak further with police without a warrant. Shortly after the Porter County SWAT team arrived, Martinez-Kestle, her friend, and her friend’s mom left the house.

Martinez-Kestle “admitted to pointing a tan-colored firearm at Andrew Lenahan and pulling the trigger. (She) stated that she was about five feet away from Andrew when she fired the shot,” according to the court documents.

After receiving verbal and written permission to search the property police found a Glock 45 and a fired Winchester 9mm Lugar cartridge case in the pole barn. They found two additional Glocks, including a tan one, inside the residence.

Martinez-Kestle was released from the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center to the custody of her mother in late October 2022.

Shelley Jones is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.