Couple charged for attacking woman appear in court

By Nicole Minier

COLUMBIA CITY — A couple charged with attacking a woman at a Columbia City apartment complex appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court Monday morning.

Steven Craft, 20, of Claypool, and Anna Jane Smith, 21, of Fort Wayne, were arrested after an investigation into an attack that allegedly took place Feb. 17.

According to a police report, Craft brandished a weapon and Smith struck the victim with brass knuckles after an altercation at Park Terrace apartments.

Police were called after several people reported hearing a gunshot. When officers arrived, they found Craft with a bloody hand, and the victim bleeding from her head. She was taken to the hospital for treatment.

The victim told police Craft pointed the handgun at her chest and at some point fired it into the ground.

According to the police report, Craft and Smith pinned the victim against a wall, grabbing her by the throat, then Smith allegedly struck her with brass knuckles.

After the incident and before police arrived, Smith allegedly fled the scene with the gun. Police were unable to recover a bullet or casing, but several reported hearing the gunshot sound.

Craft later admitted to detectives that he fired the weapon, which was recovered from Smith in an unrelated drug case.

Smith was charged with battery, disorderly conduct and visiting a common nuisance. Craft was charged with carrying a handgun without a license, domestic battery, pointing a firearm and criminal mischief.

Smith appeared in Whitley Superior Court Monday and is next scheduled for a hearing on March 28. Craft appeared in Whitley Circuit Court and will appear for a pretrial conference April 10.

Sex offender admits to violating probation

A LaGrange man convicted of child molesting in 2015 was arrested last month after admitting to violating his probation multiple times.

Nathan Norton, 21, has many restrictions outlined in his probation, including that he is not permitted to possess sexually explicit content, have social media accounts or physically touch anyone under the age of 16.

Whitley County probation accused Norton of violating all of those restrictions, after Norton admitted to those things in a polygraph test taken Feb. 15.

According to court documents, Norton has sent more than 200 sexual photos and videos, and frequented pornography websites. He also admitted in the polygraph to hugging a 3-year-old child and had unsupervised contact with a 14-year-old.

He also said he visited Snapchat, Kik and, online services that he was not permitted to utilize.

As part of a condition of his probation, Norton is not allowed to be out after 10 p.m., however, he admitted in the polygraph that he spent the night in hotels and friends’ homes without permission. He also admitted to consuming alcohol.

His full suspended sentence — three years — was revoked and will be served at the Department of Corrections.

Also in court Monday:

• A pretrial conference for Jesse Garcia, 33, of Merriville, has been continued to March 27 at 9 a.m. in Whitley Circuit Court. Garcia was charged with intimidation, resisting law enforcement and battery with bodily waste, and arrested Feb. 6. He is being held at the Whitley County Jail on a $35,000 surety bond.

• A trial has been set for man with a four-year history of drug charges in Whitley County. Jordan Johnson, 22, of Columbia City, appeared in Circuit Court for a pretrial conference Monday, and a two-day trial was set for Aug. 1. He has a final pretrial conference scheduled for July 24.

• The pretrial conference for Meghan Hogan, charged with battery causing bodily injury, was postponed to March 20.

• James Ormsby, 51, of Churubusco, had his suspended sentence revoked after admitting to violating his probation. Ormsby was sentenced to 12 years with 10 to serve and two suspended. He admitted that he did not complete a drug and alcohol program and failed to tell his probation officer where he lived. He also admitted to testing positive to controlled substances.

• Tyler Green, 33, of Columbia City, admitted to violating his probation by consuming alcohol and controlled substances. He had two years of his three-year suspended sentence revoked.

• James Morris, 38, of Columbia City, who admitted to possession of methamphetamine and being an habitual felony offender, was sentenced to 18 years in Whitley Circuit Court Monday. Because Morris was charged in Whitley County, he will also face charges from the federal court due to his criminal history with methamphetamine. Morris received eight years for the meth charge and 10 years for being an habitual offender. After his sentencing, Morris left the defense table and complained to the judge about his sentence. When the bailiff was removing him from the courtroom, he spoke out that sex offenders receive lesser sentences than he did.

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