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Portage vet to remain behind bars, poses threat to alleged strangling victims, judge says

Portage vet to remain behind bars, poses threat to alleged strangling victims, judge says

Manuel Nardini

Manuel Nardini

VALPARAISO — A Portage man accused of battering and strangling a woman and 8-year-old child will remain behind bars because of the continued threat he poses to them, a judge decided Friday morning.

It also was announced Friday morning that the new charges triggered a request to release the accused, 33-year-old Manuel Nardini, from the county's veterans court program. The program provides participants the opportunity to wipe their records clean or at least reduce the impact of their offenses by successfully completing a highly structured plan aimed at helping them overcome drug, alcohol and other problems. If they fail — as has been alleged in Nardini's case — they face the original penalties for their offenses.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

He faces multiple operating while intoxicated charges in the case that sent him to veterans court, according to court records.

Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer told Nardini on Friday while he appreciates his service to the country in the military, he feels Nardini poses a continued threat to the two most recent alleged victims in the strangulation cases.

He ordered Nardini to take part in anger management classes while at the jail and said if he or his attorney can show progress has been made, he later would reconsider the issue of bond.

"You are presumed not guilty," the judge said. "However, the allegations here are quite disturbing."

Nardini faces felony battery, strangulation and domestic battery charges and misdemeanor resisting law enforcement for allegedly struggling during an arrest, police said.

He is accused of placing a child in a chokehold July 3 long enough that the child lost control of bodily functions, according to the charges. The child also suffered scratches to the face, neck and shoulder areas.

Then a day later, Nardini did the same type of thing to a woman, police said. He is accused of wrapping his arm around her throat until she could not breathe, which caused her, too, to lose control of her bodily functions.

Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Hammer argued Friday for Nardini to be held without bond because of his criminal history, most recent cases and alleged violation at veterans court.

Indiana State Police Trooper Tom DeVries participates in the Wednesday Trooper-in-a-Truck traffic enforcement initiative. The effort involved a pair of ISP troopers positioned with a truck driver and directing other units for traffic stops.

Nardini poses a safety threat to his alleged victims and society, Hammer said.

Defense attorney Mark Chargualaf sought the release of his client, telling the judge Nardini has a history of showing up to court as ordered.

When the option of a GPS monitor was brought up, it was revealed Nardini already had been wearing one as part of his veterans court responsibilities. He asked the judge for that to be removed and the costs stopped now that he is behind bars.

A trial was set in the strangulation cases for Feb. 7, with preliminary hearings Oct. 22 and Jan. 7.


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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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