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Man, 37, pleads guilty to intimidation in pregnant girlfriend's battery case

Man, 37, pleads guilty to intimidation in pregnant girlfriend's battery case

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CROWN POINT — A 37-year-old man who pleaded guilty Monday in Lake Criminal Court to felony intimidation on allegations he battered his pregnant girlfriend last year in Merrillville, causing her to lose three of her four children due to a miscarriage, won't serve any jail time unless he violates probation.

James E. McGhee Jr. pleaded guilty Monday in Judge Clarence Murray's courtroom to intimidation, a Level 5 felony. The offense is typically punishable by one to six years in prison, but attorneys agreed McGhee would be sentenced to three years in prison, which would be suspended for three years of probation.

He also agreed to attend a batterer's intervention program as part of his probation, records state.

McGhee was represented at the hearing by defense attorney Jamise Perkins. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25.

McGhee was charged last year with multiple felonies on allegations he kicked and punched his girlfriend Feb. 20, 2017 at the couple's apartment in the 7000 block of Broadway, court records state.

The woman, who was pregnant with quadruplets, said McGhee also put a kitchen knife to her throat. She provided medical records that showed she lost three of the four fetuses she carried due to the attack.

On March 8, 2017, attorneys agreed McGhee could be released from jail on a $80,000 surety bond, records state. McGhee signed an order prohibiting contact with his girlfriend.

A warrant was issued March 28, 2017, after McGhee failed to appear at a court hearing, but the warrant was recalled April 21 at the defense's request.

On May 17, 2017, McGhee allegedly kidnapped the same woman after she agreed to meet him in a motel parking lot in Merrillville, records state. The woman was not found until June 20, after the woman's mother contacted authorities to report she received a text message from her daughter that read, “Don't reply, mom, I love you bye,” records state.

Merrillville police tracked the woman's cellphone to a Gary fireworks stand, where she and her son were located hiding in the business's bathroom.

McGhee was charged June 28, 2017, with the woman's kidnapping. Perkins informed Murray at an Aug. 4 hearing McGhee was hospitalized, records state.

McGhee appeared at an Aug. 7, 2017, court hearing. Murray determined McGhee violated his order prohibiting contact with the victim and revoked his bond, records state.

Murray agreed to again release McGhee after a Sept. 18, 2017, hearing on the condition he wear an electronic-monitoring device, records state.

McGhee was scheduled for trial on the charges Sept. 10.

Bradley Carter, the spokesman for the Lake County Prosecutor's Office, said the supervising prosecuting attorney who crafted the plea agreement was not available for comment Monday.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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