Jury convicts man of four felonies


Staff reports

COLUMBIA CITY — A jury of seven men and five women convicted Joshua Riecke, 28, of Columbia City, of four felonies related to neglecting a child and methamphetamine at Whitley County Circuit Court last week.

Riecke was convicted of three counts of neglect of a dependent, level 5 felonies, and aiding in dealing methamphetamine, a level 3 felony.

Judge Matthew Rentschler presided over the two-day trial. The case was centered around Riecke and his wife, Ashley, who dealt methamphetamine from their home in Park Terrace, Columbia City, according to court documents. Riecke sold drugs to a confidential informant in April 2017. The transaction took place in front of the Riecke children, ages 2, 3 and 8, it was revealed during the trial.

Ashley Riecke pleaded guilty to dealing in meth earlier this month. She will be sentenced in October.

The jury heard from Detective Cory Patrick with the Whitley County Drug Task Force, a forensic scientist from the Indiana State Police lab and the confidential informant who purchased the meth from Riecke and his wife. Recordings of the drug buy were also played for the jury.

Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney D.J. Sigler was pleased with the jury’s verdict.

“We had a very deliberate, very thoughtful jury,” he said. “They were very thorough in their review of the evidence. It remains clear that our citizens will not tolerate the dealing of this terrible drug, particularly in the presence of very young children.”

Riecke will be sentenced 9 a.m. Oct. 16. A level 3 felony carries a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum sentence of 16 years. Level 5 felonies carry a sentencing ranges between one and six years.

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