February 2020: Year In Review

(UNDATED) – In February 2020, the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County celebrated the burning of their mortgage, a man was arrested after selling fatal does of heroin to a Mitchell man, a man’s murder sentenced was upheld, spelling bee champions were named, the Bedford Police Officer of the Year was named, Mitchell firefighters saved a woman’s life, and a new Bedford Fire Department chief took the helm.

The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County Burn Mortgage

In February 2020, the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County celebrated the burning of their mortgage.

The event was held at the Limestone Unit. Jim Sowders jumped from the roof of the building in celebration and the mortgage went up in flames.

Mitchell Man Dies After Taking Fatal Dose Of Heroin Laced with Fentanyl – Mitchell Man Arrested For Providing The Drug

In February 2020, a Mitchell man was arrested after police say he sold heroin that was laced with Fentanyl to 53-year-old Kevin S. Bowden.

Kevin Bowden

Bowden died after taking the drug.

Mitchell Police Department officers arrested 48-year-old Jackie D. Leatherman, of Mitchell, on a felony charge of dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death.

Jackie Leatherman

According to police, on January 9, 2020 Roxanne Knowles found Bowden dead in his apartment at 403 West Warren Street. Knowles is Bowden’s ex-wife. 

At first Leatherman told investigators he didn’t know how Bowden could have gotten the heroin he had overdosed on. He then told police he knew the heroin was “hot” and probably contained fentanyl. 

Leatherman indicated that he sold 1/10 of a gram of that heroin to Kevin Bowden for $30 on January 8, 2020 around 9 p.m. The transaction took place at Bowden’s apartment. Leatherman told police that he suspected Bowden took the drug shortly after he left Bowden’s apartment

On February 19, 2020 police received the autopsy report from Coroner Rob Herr. Forensic Pathologist Doctor James Jacobi completed the autopsy and prepared the report. The following is the opinion documented by Dr. Jacobi: 

“Death in this 53-year-old man is attributed to Fentanyl toxicity by injection. Moderate methamphetamine toxicity and moderately advanced cardiomyopathy are interpreted as contributory to the cause of death.”

Police allege Jackie Leatherman sold, provided, and/or delivered the heroin, containing fentanyl, to Kevin Bowden on January 8, 2020 that ultimately resulted in his death.

Leatherman is scheduled to appear before a jury of his peers on January 26, 2021 at 8:30 a.m., in Lawrence County Superior Court I.

Indiana Court Of Appeals Upholds Murderer’s Sentence

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the sentence for convicted murderer Evan Schaffer is appropriate.

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Evan Schaffer

Schaffer, 24, was sentenced by Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge John Plummer III to 63.5 years in prison for the April 2017 shooting death of 25-year-old Justin Lampkins at the McDonald’s drive-through in Bedford.

During the trial, then Lawrence County Chief Public Defender David Shircliff claimed Schaffer acted in self-defense after Lampkins threatened him with a tire knocker and choked him.

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Justin Lampkins

When reviewing the nature of the offense, the Indiana Court Appeals ruled the details and circumstances of Schaffer’s offenses illuminate the senselessness of Lampkins’s death.

The court ruled, “The nature of the offenses does not persuade us that a sentence reduction is warranted.”

Lampkins died around 2:30 a.m. on April 23, 2017. He had suffered a gunshot wound to the left upper chest, and his cause of death was massive blood loss. A bullet was located in his spine, just below the breastbone.

On April 25, 2017, the State charged Schaffer with murder, pointing a firearm, carrying a handgun without a license, and battery.

Myron Rainey Named To Sportswriters And Sportscasters Hall Of Fame

The “Voice of the Stars” Myron Rainey ended his remarkable 40-year career broadcasting Bedford North Lawrence athletics on 1340 AM WBIW and learned in February 2020 he would be enshrined in the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.

Rainey has been the soundtrack for some of the biggest moments in BNL sports history, including five state championships in basketball. He chronicled the careers of Damon Bailey, Danny Bush, Pete Pritchett, and other members of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame along the way. He also called BNL football games from 1979 until the conclusion of the 2013 season.

The media spot above the northeast corner of BNL Fieldhouse was named in Rainey’s honor.

Mitchell Volunteer Fire Department Firefighters Received Life-Saving Certificates.

Four Mitchell Volunteer Fire Department firefighters received life-saving certificates and pins.

Dalton Chowning, Parish England, Vinnie Bodkins, and Tristen Sites were presented the awards in conjunction with saving a woman’s life.

On January 16, 2020 at 3:30 a.m. the Mitchell Fire Department was called to a help an unconscious female. Upon arrival, Tristen Sites found the patient lying on the floor not breathing and with no pulse. As others arrived they jumped in and did rotations of CPR.

“Without hesitation, he started CPR. These young men have done a fine job at not only saving a life but also as working as a team,” said Tyler Duncan Mitchell Fire Chief. “We are very proud of these gentlemen and are so proud to call them brothers and family.”

Bedford Police Officer Nick Crulo Named Officers Of The Year and Receives Top Gun Award

In February 2020, Bedford Police Officer Nick Crulo was named the Department’s Merit Officer of the Year and received the Top Gun Award.

Bedford Police Officer Nick Crulo

According to Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore, Officer Crulo was named officer of the year for his knowledge and quality of outstanding work, his initiative, dependability, interpersonal skills, attitude, attendance, and appearance.

Officer Curlo earned the Top Gun Award after scoring 513 points out of 528 in firearm training.

As Merit Officer of the Year, Crulo received an engraved Henry .22-caliber rifle and a certificate.

46th Annual Lawrence County Spelling Bee Champions Named

Meryl Klein, a 7th grader at Shawswick Middle School, was the 46th Annual WBIW Lawrence County Spelling Bee Champion presented by Ivy Tech Community College of Bedford. Meryl is the daughter of the proud parents of Brian and Marie Klein of Bedford.

Meryl Klein

Meryl won when Paige Voigtschild misspelled the word ‘mercer’.

Paige Voigtschild was the elementary school 46th Annual Lawrence County Spelling Bee champion placed second in the championship round. Paige, a 5th grader at their home school, won the elementary competition by spelling the word ‘snooker’ correctly.

Paige Voigtschild

John Hughes Sworn In As Bedford Fire Chief

After 29 years as a firefighter, John Hughes was sworn in as Bedford’s Fire Department Chief by Bedford Mayor Sam Craig.

Bedford Mayor swears in Fire Chief John Hughes

Hughes became the newest fire chief following the resignation of DeWayne Turpen, who resigned for personal reasons. Turpen was approved by the Board of Works to become Battalion Chief.