LOCAL NEWS

WAYNE COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE SUPERVISOR CONVICTED OF CRIME

(Richmond, IN)--A long-time Richmond police officer has been removed from the force after pleading guilty to a crime.  Scott Crull pled guilty last month to refusal to aid an officer.  Crull’s criminal case, including the initial hearing, plea hearing, and sentencing took only days.  Often, that process can take more than a year.  What is also unusual is that there was no probable cause affidavit, so details of exactly what Crull did remain unclear.  Crull was the supervisor of the Wayne County Drug Task Force.  The charges appear to stem from a drug bust on Salisbury Road nearly a year ago.  A special prosecutor indicated that Crull showed up in an area outside of his jurisdiction – possibly to tip off suspects that a search was coming.  As part of the case, Crull has agreed to give up his law enforcement certification.

Note from News Director:  There have been some people who have accused me of refusing to cover this story.  I have known about it for more than ten days and had planned to run it next week. There was no way in the world I was going to run this story so close to the time that another RPD officer was being buried. Even though the crime involved only one officer, there are those who I knew would invariably criticize the entire department. I was not going to contribute to that kind of innuendo when the entire department was grieving the loss of Seara Burton.  Crull's court procedings happened only two days after Seara died.  I had planned to run the story next week, but I aired it Friday instead after another news outlet ran it Wednesday.  -Jeff Lane


MAN SHOT, KILLED IN DARKE COUNTY

(Darke County,  OH)--There was a murder Thursday night in rural Darke County.  Deputies were called to the 5000 block of Smith Road at around 7:30 Thursday night.  That’s a few miles east of Spartanburg near the state line.  There, police found a man dead from a gunshot wound near the back door of a home.  Two adult witnesses cooperated with investigators, and 58-year-old William Fields was taken into custody and charged with murder.  "This is not something that happens every day.  But, unfortunately, we have a tragic situation and we are going to get to the bottom of it," said Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker.  The victim’s name has not yet been released.  There’s also no word yet on what led to the fatal shooting.


WANTED METH SUSPECT CAPTURED AFTER FOOT CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond man was captured following a foot chase through a residential area early Friday morning.  36-year-old Joseph Fields had been wanted for meth possession.  Police located him Friday morning in the Fairview area.  Fields fled on foot through back yards and allies and was eventually captured on North West J Street.  Fields allegedly had more meth on him – along with drug paraphernalia – when he was captured Friday morning.


REID TO BREAK GROUND ON NEW $100 MILLION HOSPITAL IN CONNERSVILLE

(Connersville, IN)--Groundbreaking has been set for either October 19 or 20 for a massive project that will result in a brand-new hospital for Connersville.  Reid Health will invest more than $100 million into the property on Park Road that was once home to Kmart.  Reid purchased that site early last year.  The new facility will replace the current hospital building on Virginia Avenue.  A hospital has been located there for more than a hundred years, and Reid officials say it’s better to start over with a new building rather than try to renovate the aging structure.  The new hospital will cover 177,000 square feet over two stories.  It’s expected to take about two years to construct.


SHIPMAN: NO COMMENT ON PHILLIP LEE CRIMINAL CASE

(Richmond, IN)--While covering the story of Warm Glow Candle’s $26,000 donation to the Richmond Police Department’s K-9 program Wednesday, Newscenter 7’s John Bedell came into contact with Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman.  Bedell asked Shipman the question that seems to be on the minds of a lot of people…when will the charges against Phillip Lee be updated to reflect the death of Officer Seara Burton?  Shipman’s response, according to Bedell’s tweet, is that he would have no comment on the case.  Lee remains in a northern Indiana prison.


$2 MILLION IN DRUGS, CASH FOUND IN FAYETTE COUNTY

(Fayette County, IN)--There was a massive drug seizure in Fayette County on Wednesday.  The Indiana State Police executed a search warrant at a home on State Road 1 between Connersville and Everton, and listen to what they found inside:  309 pounds of packaged marijuana with a street value over $1.4 million and 34 pounds of THC wax with a street value of $300,000.  There were 14,000 vape cartridges worth another $280,000.  Investigators also found $100,000 in cash.  Three people were charged.  They were identified as Tristen Sweney, Nokomus Nicholson, and Michael Hockersmith.  There was also a toddler in the house who was turned over to CPS.


SEARA BURTON'S POLICE VEHICLE TO BE PLACED IN PERMANENT LOCATION

(Richmond, IN)--If you’ve been by the Richmond Municipal Building in the last couple of days, you may have noticed that the tribute to Officer Seara Burton – which included her police vehicle – has been removed.  Richmond Mayor Dave Snow said that the vehicle is being moved to a new, permanent location and that more information about that would be shared soon.  Meanwhile, area businesses continue to contribute to local law enforcement in response to Seara’s death.  Tuesday, the Warm Glow Candle Company in Centerville presented RPD with a check for $26,000 that was the result of sales of thin blue line candles that they made and sold for a week.


COUNCIL EXPRESSES CONCERN WITH FUTURE BUDGETS

(Richmond, IN)--Even though Richmond Common Council passed the city’s budget for next year earlier this week, several council members have expressed concern about what lies further down the road.  2023’s budget is balanced due largely to almost $1.6 million in American Rescue Plan money that’s tied to Covid-19.  That money will be available again in ’24, but in ’25 it will not be there.  One issue putting pressure on the budget is overtime by first responders.  Council hopes that’s alleviated with additional hirings, including six first responders that have been sworn in in the last week.


250-PERSON HIRING EVENT, ANNEXATION HIGHLIGHT LEWISBURG GROWTH

(Lewisburg, OH)--Growth is coming to the Lewisburg area of Preble County.  A hiring event is coming soon for the Royal Canin development.  That pet food manufacturer is expected to hire 250 people at its new facility just south of I-70.  An area nearby that will be used for a housing development has been annexed into the village.  The new land should be in Lewisburg’s possession by the end of the year.  There’s no word on a specific date for the hiring event.


CONTINUANCE GRANTED IN TRIAL OF ACCUSED OFFICER SHOOTER

(Richmond, IN)--A pretrial hearing was held Monday in the case of Phillip Lee.  He’s the man accused of shooting and killing Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton.  Lee’s court-appointed attorney asked for and was granted a continuance in the case.  Continuances are requested and granted routinely in Wayne County criminal cases.  Often, it happens three or more times before a case is actually settled.  Lee’s continuance on Monday pushes his scheduled trial date back from November 1 to December 27.  Online court records do not show a change in the charges Lee faces based on Officer Burton’s death.  He’s still charged with three counts of attempted murder.


PRIMEX DISCUSSES SEARA BURTON MURAL DETAILS

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on plans by Primex Plastics to convert signs of support for Officer Seara Burton in a mural honoring her and other first responders.  Primex had printed 4100 signs that dotted yards and businesses across the city.  When people heard about the mural, they quickly returned those signs to Primex.  "They filled up all weekend.  That was great to see.  The more we can get back, the larger we can make the mural," said Doug Borgsdorf with Primex, who also provided some more details about the mural on Monday.  "We're gonna look at all the images that people posted throughout social media - pictures that her family had provided that we printed during her memorial service - and create a one-time-only piece of art  that will represent first responders as well as her memory."  One larger mural will be displayed at the police and fire training center.  Smaller murals will go to Seara’s family.  Bins to return the signs will remain in place at Primex through the end of next week.


LOWER PERCENTAGE OF RESIDENTS OF NCC CITIES, INCLUDING RICHMOND, WORK

(Richmond, IN)--Last week, Kicks 96 and The Point News reported new state numbers showing that just under 40% of Richmond residents are working.  That’s people of all ages, including those too young or too old to have a job.  Many people responded to that report and wondered where Richmond ranks with other Indiana cities of similar size.  The results show how demographics are shifting.  Cities with schools in the North Central Conference like Richmond, Muncie, Marion, Anderson, and Kokomo all have between 39 and 43% of their residents working.  Those cities have historically had similar demographics and have been largely dependent on big manufacturers.  Other Indiana communities, though, have a much higher percentage of residents working.  Franklin and Zionsville, for instance, are over 50%, and Brownsburg has 61% of its residents working.


MAN CHARGED WITH OFFICER'S SHOOTING DUE FOR HEARING MONDAY

(Richmond, IN)--According to Odyssey online court records, the man accused of shooting and killing Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton is due for a pre-trial hearing in Wayne Circuit Court Monday morning.   Those records also indicate that Phillip Lee is still charged with three counts of attempted murder.   Jail records on Monday morning indicate that Lee has not been returned to the Wayne County Jail for Monday’s hearing.  He is being held in a northern Indiana prison.  There has been no court activity in Lee’s case since Seara’s death two weeks ago.  Lee is set for trial on November 1, although that date will almost certainly be pushed back.


BOX TRUCK CRASH CLOSES STATE ROAD 1

(Milton, IN)--Traffic on State Road 1 near Milton hwas affected by a crash Monday morning.  It happened at around 5 o’clock Monday morning near Nickel Plate Road – not far from Stant’s Curve.  A box truck was located on its side.  According to scanner traffic, the person who called 911 to alert first responders to the crash could not find a driver in the area.


RICHMOND ANNOUNCES LEAF PICKUP TIMES

(Richmond, IN)--The city of Richmond has announced leaf collection times for this fall.  Monday, October 17 is the day that collections will begin in nearly all areas of the city.  As is the case every year, the city says that other things like grass clippings, sticks, and garden waste should be kept out of the piles.  Leaf collections will continue until the middle of December.


MAYOR SNOW THANKS COMMUNITY FOR SEARA BURTON SUPPORT

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Mayor Dave Snow on Thursday reflected on what was a very difficult week with the funeral service of Officer Seara Burton.  Snow posted "I am so proud of this entire community for navigating that difficulty with grace, dignity, and reverence for the heroic service of Officer Burton"  Snow also encouraged everyone to watch a short but professionally produced video looking back on Monday’s event.  You can find a link to that video on the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page and across social media.


STATE NUMBERS SHOW LESS THAN 40% OF RICHMOND RESIDENTS HAVE JOBS

(Richmond, IN)--Earlier this week, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point reported some encouraging employment numbers for Wayne County.  But, what about inside the city of Richmond specifically?  There are some encouraging numbers there as well.  Since this point last year, there are a hundred more people actually working and 300 more people in the workforce.  Still, state numbers show that only 40% (39.97%) of Richmond’s population has a job and is working, in ways of varying degrees, to support the 60% that does not work.


CHARGES UPGRADED AGAINST ALLEGED SHOOTER

(Richmond, IN)--Charges have been upgraded against a Richmond man accused of a recent shooting.  Chandler Walker now faces charges that include attempted murder and aggravated battery.  Walker allegedly shot Tyus Bell-Adcock on Hunt Street ten days ago and then led police on a chase.  Walker had previously been facing only a weapons charge, but those charges were upgraded after an interview with the victim.  Both men have lengthy criminal records, including three open felony cases each.  Bell-Adcock has been jailed and released eight times in the last year.


JUDGEMENT ISSUED IN PAUST, FIRST BANK FORECLOSURE CASE

(Richmond, IN)--The large civil case against Wayne County Commissioner Ken Paust that was filed by First Bank Richmond has now been settled.  First Bank had pursued foreclosure on more than 90 acres of property owned by Paust on multiple tracts of land on U.S. 40, Salibury Road, and Woody Drive.  When the case was filed, Paust had explained that part of that land had been sold on contract to another party and that party had failed to pay Paust.  Paust said that allowing the issue to go to foreclosure was the easiest way for it to revert to First Bank.  In Wayne Circuit Court, a judgement has now been entered in favor of First Bank for roughly three quarters of a million dollars.  Court documents indicate the properties will be sold at sheriff’s sale.


MILLION-DOLLAR LOTTERY TICKET SOLD IN LAUREL

(Laurel, IN)--The Whitewater Valley has a new millionaire.  Someone purchased a Powerball lottery ticket in Laurel for last Saturday night’s drawing.  That ticket did not match the Powerball, but did match all other numbers.  That means whoever has the ticket can claim a million dollars.  The winner has not yet come forward to claim his or her prize.