Investigation error leads to lost evidence in shooting case

2013-11-07T17:42:00Z 2013-11-08T10:47:19Z Investigation error leads to lost evidence in shooting caseBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
November 07, 2013 5:42 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Plans for a daylong court hearing were cut short Thursday when attorneys agreed physical evidence collected after paramedics left a shooting scene in the town of Porter in 2011 cannot be used against the defendant.

The decision was reached because police from the town of Porter and the Porter County Sheriff's Department failed to secure a search warrant before collecting evidence from a home at 321 Michigami Trail in Porter, according to defense attorney Bob Harper.

Porter County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost said photos collected from the shooting scene still can be used.

Harper said as part of the pretrial deal, he agreed to withdraw his request to also toss a statement given by the accused, 46-year-old Beverly Mitchell, who lived at the same address as the shooting scene. Harper said he retained the right to revisit the request.

Mitchell is accused of shooting 45-year-old Donald Crouse in the chest during a suspected domestic disturbance.

Crouse died a week later.

Mitchell is charged with a Class B felony aggravated battery, Class C felony battery and Class D felony counts of criminal recklessness and pointing a firearm.

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