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State's Attorney asks Wabash County prosecutor to charge murder suspect's brother

Under Illinois law, a sibling may not be prosecuted for harboring, aiding or abetting a fugitive.

However, Indiana law only exempts parents, children and a spouse from prosecution.

This distinction between the two states’ laws has come to light with the recent arrest in North Manchester of a suspect in the murder of one Illinois police officer and the injuring of another.

Kankakee County, Illinois State’s Attorney Jim Rowe submitted an official request to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois and to the U.S. Attorney General to review the first-degree murder cases pending against Darius D. Sullivan, 26, of Bourbonnais, Illinois, and Xandria A. Harris, 26, of Bradley, Illinois, for federal murder charges, and to pursue a federal sentence of death against both defendants.

Additionally, the State’s Attorney’s Office has also filed state charges against Sullivan and Harris for the first-degree murder of a police officer, and attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, among other charges. The state charges will proceed in the Kankakee County Courthouse and Rowe will seek life sentences for both offenders.

The Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 3 is investigating a shooting involving officers from the Bradley Police Department in Bradley, Illinois, according to the Illinois State Police. At around 12:20 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, the Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 3 was requested to investigate the shooting of two Bradley Police Department police officers. Preliminary reports indicate that BPD officers responded to a hotel in the 1500 block of North State Highway 50 for a noise complaint. While investigating the incident, BPD officers initiated a conversation with subjects inside of the hotel, according to the Illinois State Police. During the interaction, Sgt. Marlene R. Rittmanic, 49, and Officer Tyler J. Bailey, 27, were fired upon. Rittmanic and Bailey sustained serious injuries after being struck by gunfire and were transported to area hospitals for treatment. Rittmanic later succumbed to her injuries. Bailey remains in critical condition at the hospital. ISP Zone 3 Agents obtained Kankakee County arrest warrants for Sullivan and Harris concerning this incident.

“I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to all of the law enforcement agencies, emergency personnel, first responders and medical personnel for their assistance during this terrible time,” said Illinois State Police director Brendan F. Kelly during a press conference held at the Bradley Police Department on Wednesday, Jan. 5. “I’d like to thank the men and women of the Illinois State Police, particularly ISP Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 3 special agents and Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigators, the U.S. Marshals, Indiana State Police, the Kankakee County States Attorney’s office, Bourbonnais and Bradley Fire and EMS, Fulton County Indiana Sheriff’s Office, Wabash County Indiana Sheriff’s Office, Kosciusko County Indiana Sheriff’s Office, Warsaw Police Department, North Manchester Police Department, Akron Police Department, North Manchester Fire Department. Manchester University Security, Lutheran EMS and the Wabash Fire Department and the numerous other individuals who have been tirelessly working to ensure these violent individuals face justice.”

At around 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, Harris, accompanied by her attorney, turned herself in at the Bradley Police Department and was taken into custody by the Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 3 Investigators, according to the Illinois State Police. Harris will remain in custody and will be held at the Jerome D. Combs Adult Detention Facility in Kankakee, Illinois. Harris faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. The state’s petition to deny bail to the defendant was granted by the court on Monday, Jan. 3, and Harris remains in the custody of the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department without bond.

Darius Sullivan was arrested early Friday, Dec. 31 at a residence in North Manchester. Arrangements are being made for him to be extradited from Indiana to Kankakee County at this time. Darius Sullivan is charged with six counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one charge of aggravated battery with a firearm. Darius Sullivan remains in the custody of Indiana law enforcement, where, on Monday, Jan. 3, he refused to waive extradition to Illinois.

“It feels too often like we are living in a cynical, self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish time. Every day, law enforcement officers like Sgt. Rittmanic and Officer Bailey ... leave their homes and families to serve and protect their communities because they are selfless. That’s why it is nearly impossible to express the depth of my sadness and condolences to the entire Rittmanic family, her friends, and the Bradley Police Department family. We will continue to pray for her and seek justice for her and for Officer Bailey and their families during this painful time. The families, friends, the Bradley Police Department and every first responder in our state are hurting right now,” said Kelly.

Rowe said there is recent precedent for the United States pursuing the death penalty for the murder of a law enforcement officer, citing the case U.S. v. Stephen Wiggins, Middle District of Tennessee in 2018; and precedent for pursuing a federal sentence of death in non-death penalty states, citing the case U.S. v. Brent Christensen, Central District of Illinois in 2018.

“Officer Bailey was viciously attacked because he was doing his job. Sgt. Rittmanic was executed because she was doing her job. … These alleged acts were cowardly acts of evil. The Illinois State Police will continue to assist our Bradley Police Department family and will be vigilant in the pursuit of justice as this investigation continues. Through turmoil and tragedy, through good times and bad, the Illinois State Police will always remain ready to aid our law enforcement partners and safeguard everyone in Illinois,” said Kelly. “We all want justice, we all want freedom, we all want safety, no one more than those who serve in law enforcement. But there is no safety, there is no freedom, there is no justice without the law. And there is no law without law enforcement. And there is no law enforcement without people like Sgt. Rittmanic, Officer Bailey, … without brave souls like those who serve in the Bradley Police Department ... the Illinois State Police and all law enforcement. And every one of us should get down on our knees and thank God for every one of them.”

Rowe said Sullivan and Harris “will now face justice for these heinous crimes thanks to the quick work of all local law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, first responders, dispatchers, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department and Coroner’s Office, U.S. Marshals, KAMEG, Illinois State Police, countless Indiana law enforcement departments and the willing cooperation of civilians.”

Rowe said during the investigation were Darius Sullivan’s mother, Nichele Newton-Caroll, and his brother, Jalmen Sullivan, were also arrested. Allegations against these individuals include obstruction of justice for making false statements to law enforcement and harboring a fugitive to aid in his escape, respectively. Newton-Caroll is alleged to have made false statements to law enforcement during an interview that occurred in Demotte, which ultimately places the jurisdiction for those charges in the hands of the Newton County, prosecutor’s office. Rowe said he has been in contact with the Newton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and has requested that they file all applicable charges and prosecute Newton-Caroll “to the fullest extent of the law.” Rowe said Jalmen Sullivan allegedly transported his brother, Darius Sullivan, from Kankakee County, Illinois to Wabash “to aid Darius in escaping justice.”

On Friday, Jan. 14, Illinois State Police Southern Region Public Information Office Trooper Josh Korando referred all future questions about the potential prosecution of Jalmen Sullivan to Wabash County authorities.

“No other information on this case is being released by Zone 3 at this time,” said Korando.

Also, on Friday, Jan. 14, Wabash County Prosecutor William C. Hartley, Jr. said he could not publicly discuss his office’s pending decision as to whether or not to charge Jalmen Sullivan locally.

Rowe did not respond to a Plain Dealer request for further comment on this case as of press time.

During a press conference on the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 31 at the North Manchester Police Department, Indiana State Police Lowell District public information officer Sgt. Glen Fifield was joined by Sgt. Travis Heishman with Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, Fulton County Sheriff Chris Sailors and Wabash County Sheriff Ryan Baker.

Fifield said at around 3:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 31, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling the wrong way on a one-way road in Rochester. As a result of that traffic stop that was initiated, a pursuit took place which ended off Mitchell Drive at the seawall. They fled on foot but were shortly apprehended, police said in a probable cause affidavit. Two individuals – Bryce J. Baker, 20, and Joshua J. Adams, 26, both from Kankakee, Illinois – were taken into custody without incident. Those two individuals were charged with possession of stolen property, resisting law enforcement and possession of a handgun with no license. Police said they found a bag of marijuana

and a handgun in a towel that Baker told them he pitched into the lake. The two are charged with carrying a handgun without a license, theft of a firearm, possession of marijuana and resisting law enforcement. Adams’ resisting charge is a felony because he was the alleged driver and used a vehicle to resist. On Tuesday, Jan. 4, Baker and Adams appeared before Fulton Circuit Court Judge Christopher Lee for their initial hearings. Lee set both men’s bonds at $75,000 surety, approved public defense attorneys for the suspects and set future court dates. They are both set to appear for a pretrial conference at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and their trial date is now set for June 7.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 31, officers with the U.S. Marshall’s Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force requested the assistance of the Indiana State Police SWAT to serve a search warrant on a residence located in the 1000 block of North Bond Street in North Manchester. During the execution of that warrant, two individuals were taken into custody. One of the individuals, Darius Sullivan, had active warrants for first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. These charges stemmed from the murder of Rittmanic and the injuries to Bailey. Also arrested at the residence was Daniel Acros, 19, from Kankakee, Illinois. He was preliminarily charged with weapon and narcotics charges in Wabash County as a result of the search warrant.

Assisting at the scene were the Fulton County Sheriffs Department, Wabash County Sheriffs Department, Kosciusko County Sheriffs Department, Warsaw Police Department, North Manchester Police Department, Akron Police Department, North Manchester Fire Department, Manchester University Security, Lutheran EMS and the Wabash Fire Department.

Fifield said Manchester University was locked down during the search warrant “and there was a building that was searched as a result of some other investigation.” On Monday, Jan. 3, Manchester University’s Office of Strategic Communications assistant director of media relations Anne Gregory said they issued the lockdown alert at 9:22 a.m. and the all-clear alert at 10:54 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 31.

Rowe said the investigation into this matter continues “to ensure that all who aided or abetted these individuals are caught and brought to justice.”

“The public is reminded that criminal charges are not evidence of guilt and that all individuals are presumed innocent until and unless they are found guilty in a court of law,” said Rowe.

Rowe said anyone with information related to the ongoing investigation and prosecution of the above offenders is asked to call the Illinois State Police Hotline at 815-698-2315.

No further information was available as of press time. This story will be updated as more information is released.


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First baby of 2022

It took just over three days into the new year, but Parkview Wabash Hospital has finally welcomed its first baby of 2022.

On Friday, Jan. 14, Parkview Health public relations specialist Leslie Megison said the first baby born in 2022 at Parkview Wabash Hospital was a girl.

“Welcome, little one,” said Megison.

The baby, Caroline Marie, was born at 1:53 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4. She was 7 pounds, 1.2 ounces.

“To ensure the safety and privacy of the baby and her parents, and to remain consistent with ongoing guidance from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, no additional information will be provided about this child,” said Megison.

In response to a Plain Dealer request, public relations manager Tami Brigle said they followed these policies due to safety.

“Parkview Health has chosen to follow guidance from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which recommends against the release of most types of information in order to protect the privacy of an infant and the family,” said Brigle. “If a parent would want to share more information publicly, they can do so of their own accord once they leave the hospital. However, Parkview won’t facilitate sharing details.”


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Sheriff Baker files for re-election; Sweet files for Indiana House GOP primary

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Wabash County Sheriff Ryan Baker officially filed for re-election with the Wabash County Clerk’s Office.

The filing period runs through noon Friday, Feb. 4. The primary election will be held May 3 and the general election will be held on Nov. 8.

In addition to Baker, as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, Republican Lori Draper had filed for re-election as clerk; Republican Eric Rish had filed for re-election as recorder; Republican Kelly Schenkel had filed re-election as assessor; Republican Jeff Dawes has filed for re-election for Wabash County Commissioner District 1; Republican Barbara Pearson had filed for re-election for Wabash County Council District 2; Republican Kyle Bowman has filed for re-election for Wabash County Council District 4; Republican Andrew Delong had filed for Lagro Township Trustee; Republican Ashley Cordes has filed for Paw Paw Township Trustee; and Republican Gary Hunter Sr. has filed for Lagro Township Board Member.

Also, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office Republican Wabash Circuit Court Judge Robert R. McCallen, III had filed for re-election.

According to the Wabash County Clerk’s office, no candidates had yet filed for the following races: Wabash County Council District 1, Wabash County Council District 3, Chester Township Trustee, Liberty Township Trustee, Noble Township Trustee, Pleasant Township Trustee, Waltz Township Trustee, Chester Township Board Member, Liberty Township Board Member, Noble Township Board Member, Paw Paw Township Board Member, Pleasant Township Board Member and Waltz Township Board Member.

On Monday, Jan. 10, Secretary of State Holli Sullivan filed to seek the Republican Party’s nomination for Secretary of State. The Indiana Republican State Convention will take place in Indianapolis on June 18.

On Thursday, Jan. 13, Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Indiana, announced he would not to seek reelection to Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.

“For nearly six years, Rep. Trey Hollingsworth has been a dedicated servant to the Hoosiers of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. Hoosiers have certainly been well-served thanks to his steadfast leadership,” said Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, who represents the Second District, had not filed for re-election as of Thursday, Jan. 13. Walorski did not respond to a Plain Dealer request for further comment as of press time.

Also on the state level, Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, had already announced his reelection bid last month in the redesigned 17th District and filed his paperwork on Thursday, Jan. 6. Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, filed his paperwork.

Leonard was joined in the race for his seat Wednesday, Jan. 12 by current Wabash Councilmember Lorissa Sweet. Sweet did not respond to a Plain Dealer request for further comment as of press time.

In November, Sweet announced she would be running for the newly redrawn Indiana House of Representatives District 50 seat.

Sweet is a 1997 graduate of Maconaquah High School and a 2001 graduate of Purdue University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal agribusiness.

After graduation, Lorissa worked for several years in the veterinary industry. In 2009 she opened Sweet Grooms out of her home, “to be more available” for her family.

In 2021, she started another new business called Sweet Occasions LLC, a wedding trailer and decor rental business.

In January 2016, Sweet filed her candidacy for Wabash County Council at Large, Precinct Committeeman and Republican State Delegate. In May 2016, she won all three positions on the primary ballot. She is now in her second term serving on the Wabash County Council. Her current term expires in 2024.

As a member of Bachelor Creek Church of Christ, she is involved in the women’s ministry, helping with women’s events, decorating and leading Bible studies. Together with her husband, Jeremy Sweet, they lead a small group and volunteer for summer youth programs. They also serve on the Secretariat for Brethren Way of Christ and Faith Quest, which are weekend spiritual retreats for adults and teens. They have been married for 20 years and have two daughters.

In September, Sweet was one of the featured speakers at the “Save America Freedom Rally” held on the steps of the Wabash County Courthouse. Sweet said “the past year’s unconstitutional edicts, mandates, and shut-downs have especially hurt small businesses,” including her own.

Once per decade, the congressional, Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives districts are redrawn following the results of the latest census.

Previously, all of Wabash County and parts of Kosciusko, Grant and Howard counties were covered by Indiana House District 18, represented by Rep. Craig Snow, R-Warsaw.

Now, Indiana House District 50 represents Huntington County and all of Wabash County, except Pleasant Township. It also covers Jackson Township in Miami County and Jackson Township in Wells County. The district is represented by Rep. Daniel Leonard, R-Huntington.

Leonard, who has served as the representative for the 50th district since 2002, is no stranger to primary challenges. In 2020, he narrowly prevailed against John Stoeffel in the Republican primary, winning with 53.7 percent of the vote before winning easily against Democratic candidate Jorge Fernandez in the general election.

Because the 50th district has historically voted overwhelmingly for the Republican Party, Leonard said that the primary is often more challenging than the general election. With the significant change in the makeup of the district, Leonard said that he knows the challenges he will face in getting to know potential new constituents and voters.


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ISDH raises local COVID-19 advisory level back to red

For nearly two months, the Indiana State Health Department’s (ISDH) COVID-19 county metrics had placed Wabash County in the red, the highest level.

Last week, though, that designation was finally lowered to orange, the second-highest level.

But, this week, Wabash County, along with almost every other county in the state, was raised back to red.

Meanwhile, the ISDH reported five additional local COVID-19 deaths over the past week. On Friday, Jan. 7, the ISDH reported two more local COVID-19 deaths, bringing Wabash County’s total to 133. On Tuesday, Jan. 11, the ISDH reported two more local COVID-19 deaths, bringing Wabash County’s total to 135. On Wednesday, Jan. 12, the ISDH reported one additional COVID-19 death, bringing Wabash County’s total to 136.

At the national level, the Supreme Court has stopped a major push by the Biden administration to boost the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, a requirement that employees at large businesses get a vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask on the job, according to the Associated Press.

“I am relieved to see that Supreme Court has blocked Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate for private businesses. If it had been allowed to go into effect, the mandate would have further weakened our fragile supply chains, kept shelves empty, and worsened our already critical labor shortage,” said Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer, on Thursday, Jan. 13. “As the general counsel of the RNC, I am proud of our team for filing one of the lawsuits challenging the reckless Biden Administration. We will continue to stand up and fight for workers and businesses.”

The court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S. The court’s orders Thursday, Jan. 13 came during a spike in coronavirus cases caused by the omicron variant.

The court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected and OSHA had estimated that the rule would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.

In December, Senator Braun led the Senate in a vote on the rule, with all 50 Senate Republicans and two Democratic Senators voting to overturn the vaccine mandate rule.

“President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private employees is unconstitutional and wrong. I was proud to lead the vote to overturn this illegal mandate in the Senate, and the Supreme Court blocking this mandate is a win for the liberties and livelihoods of millions of Americans,” said Braun, on Thursday.

Last month, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, filed an amicus brief alongside more than 180 fellow Congressional Republicans urging SCOTUS to stay this mandate. In the brief, they argued that Congress did not give OSHA the authority to impose a vaccine mandate.

“I am relieved the U.S. Supreme Court rightfully has struck down President Biden’s unconstitutional mandate on workers and job creators, protecting Americans’ fundamental rights,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “The administration’s mandate on private employers clearly trampled on Americans’ liberties, and it would have been a disaster as we face mounting inflation, supply chain, and workforce crises. Northern Indiana is home to a robust manufacturing and small business community that feeds and powers our nation. Today the Supreme Court upheld these Hoosiers’ vital right to work and provide for their families,” said Walorski, on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Jan. 5, the ISDH announced that Hoosiers aged 12 to 15 who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least five months ago are now eligible to receive a booster dose following approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FDA.

The FDA amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine on Monday to allow a single booster dose for people aged 12 to 15. The CDC endorsed the recommendation Wednesday.

The FDA also expanded the Pfizer EUA by shortening the time between the completion of the primary vaccination series from six months to five months and allowing certain immunocompromised children aged 5 to 11 to receive a third primary series dose. The CDC authorized those changes Tuesday.

Booster doses have been shown to increase protection from hospitalization and death against the highly infectious Omicron variant, which is fueling a surge in cases across the country. Data out of South Africa and the United Kingdom show that two doses of a Pfizer vaccine provide approximately 35 percent protection against the Omicron variant but that a booster dose increases that protection against infection to 75 percent.

The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for individuals younger than age 18. Hoosiers seeking a booster for a child aged 12 or older can go to www.ourshot.in.gov and look for a location that carries the Pfizer vaccine, designed by PVAX, or call Indiana 211 (866-211-9966) for assistance. Appointments are recommended, but many sites also accept walk-ins.


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