News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Multimedia

August 25, 2011

VIDEO: Six to face federal charges in Officer Long shooting

U.S. Attorney Hogsett set to announce indictments this morning

TERRE HAUTE — Six individuals accused of complicity in the death of a police officer face federal charges as law enforcement hopes to foster a sense of justice.

Joseph Hogsett, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, will announce today the federal indictment of six Wabash Valley residents for their actions in connection with the shooting death of Terre Haute Police Officer Brent Long.

Those indictments, Hogsett said, convey the message that people who enable acts of violence will be held responsible.

For five of the accused — Heather Elkins, 23, Charles Elkins, 23, Roberta Utterback, 51, Jenny Torres, 23, and Jesse Padgett, 21, all of Terre Haute — the federal indictments come on top of state charges, ranging from assisting a criminal to possession of controlled substance, filed July 15.

“While the person responsible for killing Officer Long is dead, the legacy of Brent Long must not end there. I will not stand idly by and tolerate law enforcement officers being targets while they perform their sworn duty to protect us all,” Hogsett stated in a media release.

“People who are complicit with a senseless act of violence should also be held accountable.”

As part of the indictment, Scott Griffy, 40, Terre Haute, faces allegations of unlawful sale of a firearm to a prohibited person; unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and unlawful possession of firearm ammunition by a convicted felon. If convicted, all counts are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to information provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Heather Elkins, Charles Elkins, Utterback, Torres and Padgett each face an allegation of making a material false statement. A conviction carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. These five also face felony allegations in the state court.

“Too many police officers are being killed in our communities by individuals who have no legal right to possess a firearm,” Hogsett stated in the media release. “While in the abstract, the charge of making a false statement may seem trivial and insignificant, the circumstances of this case demonstrate the value of this federal prosecutorial tool in assisting our state and local law enforcement partners.”

Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse expressed the sense of reclaimed justice with the handing down of the indictments.

“Nothing will bring Brent back, but at least they’ll have to pay for having a part in what happened to him,” Plasse said.

And according to Hogsett, that’s largely the point.

“The reason why this case is important is that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice is sending a message that anyone dealing in violence, particularly against police officers, if you have any association with the senseless act of violence, you’ll be held accountable,” he said in a telephone interview with the Tribune-Star.

Long was shot to death while assisting in the service of a warrant on Shaun Seeley for a felony probation violation.

The incident occurred July 11, in the 1800 block of North Eighth Street, and involved members of the Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, comprised of Deputy U.S. Marshals, Indiana State Police and the Terre Haute Police Department. Officers reportedly approached the residence and found it to be occupied by several individuals, while Seeley, himself, did not appear to be present.

According to information used in the indictment, the five defendants facing an allegation of making false statements were removed from the residence and questioned about Seeley’s whereabouts. Three, according to the release, allegedly told police Seeley was not inside.

Long and his K-9 partner, Shadow, reportedly entered the residence to search for Seeley and the dog indicated that someone was inside a closet. Officers outside the residence reportedly heard gunfire erupt and an unknown person allegedly continued firing at officers from inside. Law enforcement officials, including the Terre Haute Special Response Team, converged on the residence, eventually entering to recover Long, who had been shot multiple times. Responders made efforts to resuscitate Long at the scene, but were unsuccessful..

K-9 Shadow, who also was shot in the exchange, recovered from his wounds. He has since been retired from service and given to the care of Long’s family.

Seeley was reportedly found dead in the residence from what was determined at autopsy to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Seeley was in possession of Long’s firearm and ammunition when his body was discovered by police, according to the release.

Further investigation involved interviews with Torres and Padgett. During the interviews, Torres allegedly falsely claimed that she and C.J. Elkins were asleep and unaware of Seeley’s presence inside the house. Padgett is alleged to have falsely claimed that a witness, Cyrus Mitchell, was not present at the residence prior to the officers’ arrival to serve the warrant.

The investigation showed Griffy allegedly sold a 9 mm handgun to Seeley in June. Griffy, according to information provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, is a convicted felon and cannot legally possess a firearm. According to the federal indictment, Griffy knew Seeley to also be a convicted felon, yet allegedly sold him the weapon anyway. That 9 mm handgun, prosecutors say, was the weapon used in the fatal shooting of Long.

Hogsett said this case is unique because Long’s killer is dead and the question lingers concerning justice. Offering the example of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, he pointed out that the individuals who made weapons available to the teens were held accountable. Like Seeley, the teenaged shooters took their own lives, and left the community without a sense of justice, the U.S. Attorney said. Going after the individual who sold them the weapons helped heal that, he stated.

“We are alleging that Mr. Griffy should be held accountable,” Hogsett said.

Hearings for the accused are being scheduled, and the government will argue they need to be detained. When considering bail for accused suspects, the judge must take into consideration public safety as well as flight risk, Hogsett said, noting both lean toward keeping them behind bars.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Multimedia
  • Exterior View - Normal Hall.jpg MARK BENNETT: Returning the dome to Normal

    Folks at Indiana State University haven’t summoned Indiana Jones, yet.

    June 5, 2014 10 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 052014 ASSAULT 05CROSB.jpg VIDEO: Out of the Shadows: ‘Finally, I am living again’

    Malea Crosby has a one-word tattoo that tells her story: Survivor.
    It’s a constant reminder to her, every day of her life, that while she once was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and rape, “It didn’t kill me. I’m still alive.”

    June 4, 2014 3 Photos 2 Stories 1 Video

  • MET 050814 ASSAULT 02HALE.jpg VIDEO: Revealing new studies, persistent advocates bring issue of sexual assault, rape out of the shadows

    Growing up in northern Indiana, Christina Hale and her friends felt safe and secure in their neighborhoods.
    “It was an era you played outside all day, and everyone’s parents looked out for you.

    June 4, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories 1 Video

  • SPT060314 rex smithson.jpg VIDEO: Terre Haute Rex claim home opener 5-1

    A memorable spring of college baseball ended last weekend for Terre Haute fans, but those at Bob Warn Field on Tuesday night heaped cheers upon hometown hero A.J. Reed. Sycamores Derek Hannahs, Tyler Wampler and Jacob Hayes also were recognized during the Terre Haute Rex home opener.  
    As has become custom when the calendar flips to June, fans cheered on the Rex to a 5-1 victory in front of 1,166 fans for the first home win under the new ownership.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • (weir) 52car 002.jpg VIDEO: If These Cars Could Talk: Readers take nostalgic look back at their ‘first loves’

    Brilliant sunshine beams down on Danny Weir and his “first love” in that photograph from the summer of ’63.
    He’s 18, looking country cool in rolled up sleeves, jeans, loafers and a straw hat with the southern Indiana countryside stretched out in the background. Weir’s companion in the picture gleams, sublime.

    May 11, 2014 8 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 042214 SWIM FACES.jpg VIDEO: Swim by 7 program

    Swim by 7 is a collaborative effort involving the United Way of the Wabash Valley and the Vigo County School Corp. As envisioned, all VCSC kindergarten students would participate in the learn-to-swim program once the new VCSC Aquatics Facility is constructed and ready for use at Voorhees Park.

    April 23, 2014 6 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 042114 NEW ISU TRACK.jpg VIDEO: Indiana State breaks ground for $4.3M riverside track and field facility

    Indiana State University officials, community leaders and donors broke ground Monday on a new, $4.3 million track and field facility on the Wabash riverfront, along North First Street.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 041814 HUXFORD PAT.jpg VIDEO: Overcoming symptoms

    Even when he was in grade school, it was obvious Justin Huxford was a special kid.
    He was the first at Rio Grande Elementary School to walk 100 miles around the school grounds over the school year, one of just a handful of kids to meet the goal.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • bb8991b19af8b067e44478c_.jpg VIDEO: Windom seeking strong start to USAC Silver Crown Series at Action Track

    Chris Windom has big plans.
    Sure, the 23-year-old would like to make the ascent from success in the U.S. Auto Club to the fame and fortune of the larger racing series of NASCAR.
    The Canton, Ohio, native who makes his home in West Lafayette has his sights on a big USAC season in 2014. Windom was second in Silver Crown points in 2013 and ninth in the sprint series.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Terre Haute women of power.jpg VIDEO: Dues Paid, change under way

    25 years later, ‘influentials’ assess long road of progress for women.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story 1 Video

  • MET031914 health cook ernst.jpg VIDEO: Community Health Fair

    Nursing students in Indiana State University’s senior community health class hosted a community health fair Wednesday in Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall, 1356 Locust St.
    Mayor Duke Bennett helped kick off the afternoon of free activities as part of his “52 Weeks of Fitness” initiative.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • IMG_3401.jpg VIDEOS: Keeping memory of fallen Aces alive

    Memorial Wall in Evansville's Ford Center pays tribute to Terre Haute native Mike Joyner and  University of Evansville's Purple Aces basketball team killed in a plane crash on Dec. 13, 1977.

    March 16, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story 2 Videos

  • MET031414seuss west.jpg VIDEO: Seuss is Loose

    Ouabache Elementary School Music teacher Alison West, playing the part of Dr. Seuss' Thing 1, tosses confetti during the "Seuss is Loose" parade celebrating the end of ISTEP+ testing.

    March 14, 2014 4 Photos 1 Video

  • isu3.jpg VIDEO: Mahan's 17 rebounds among five best totals in league tournament history

    The toughness — both mental and physical — of Marina Laramie and Racheal Mahan — is a big reason the Indiana State women’s basketball team won five games in a row to close the regular season.
    The resolve of the Sycamore post duo was put to the test Friday in the MVC Tournament quarterfinals, and Laramie and Mahan were up to the task.

    March 14, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • TS video street musician_posterframe VIDEO: Sax at the Crossroads

    Saxophonist Michael Reed spiced up the Crossroads of America under long-awaited sunny skies around noon Tuesday, March 11, in downtown Terre Haute.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • newpersp3:9 copy.jpg VIDEO: Reaching the Wabash

    Fairness holds no power over the Wabash River.
    The waterway floods where and when it pleases. Its speed and volume take no account of humans using it for recreation.

    March 9, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • MET030714komen kalb.jpg VIDEO: Tasting their way to a cure

    People appeared to be in high spirits Friday inside the historic Indiana Theatre as they gathered for an evening of wine, food and conversation while supporting efforts to find a cure for breast cancer.

    March 7, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • MET030514robotics robots.jpg VIDEO: Watch these robots play ball

    Drivers of remote-controlled robots will match skills, similar to those used in basketball and soccer, to score in the FIRST Robotics’ Crossroads Regional on the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • SPT120412ISUWBBmunn1.jpg VIDEO: Munn has made her mark on ISU women's program

    Anna Munn has been a dependable leader in the Indiana State women’s basketball program. Her leadership has helped coach Teri Moren build to back-to-back 10-or-more win seasons in the Missouri Valley the last two years.

    March 2, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • MET030114swope shaffer.jpg VIDEO: Mardi Gras at the Swope

    Teresa Shaffer was handing out beads and masks at the Swope Art Museum's Mardi Gras celebration Saturday night. The event is an annual fundraiser for the downtown museum.

    March 1, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • MET022814winterguard 2.jpg VIDEO: WInterguard

    West Vigo High School's team competed in the Northview Winter Guard Invitational Friday, Feb. 28. Some 80 teams will perform their routines between Friday evening and all day today.

    February 28, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • SPT 021614 ABDUL-QAADIR.jpg VIDEO: Indiana State women looking to add to winning streak at home

    Indiana State looks to put a three-game winning streak together tonight against Loyola, who topped the Sycamores behind 30 points by senior forward Troy Hambric for one of the Ramblers’ nine wins this season.
    The Sycamores’ women’s basketball team stifled Missouri State last Friday and knocked off first-place Wichita State on Sunday for a pair of road wins last weekend. They'll look to build upon that momentum tonight at home.

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Wilhelm_posterframe VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals

    Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
    Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • MET022614beauty trusty.jpg VIDEO: Inner beauty

    Cheers and applause filled the room as 13 smiling women took center stage Wednesday night in Terre Haute to shine a spotlight on the unique beauty each person possesses — inside and out.

    February 27, 2014 4 Photos 1 Video

  • MET022514icerescue sign.jpg VIDEO: First responders train for ice rescues

    The phrase “skating on thin ice” refers to a risky situation, and with good reason. Falling through the thin ice of a frozen lake or pond can be the last thing a person does if a rescue is not quickly made.

    February 26, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • Terry Eldredge with The Grascals 2-21-14 VIDEO: The Grascals have Wabash Valley’s toes tappin’

    Bluegrass fans came from all four corners of the Wabash Valley to see Nashville, Tenn.-based band The Grascals  — and its Vigo County-native member — in concert Friday night in Union Christian Church.
    Jo-Ann Jones of Clinton was “pew dancing” in front of the sold-out crowd.

    February 22, 2014 10 Photos 1 Video

  • MET022014drone church.jpg VIDEO: Eyes in the sky

    Downtown Terre Haute gets demonstration of Pocket Drone and GPS navigation software.

    February 21, 2014 4 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 021814 BEDWELL ROTARY.jpg Video: Navy veteran recounts tale of kayak trip

    Sharing his story is exciting for a Dugger man who made history by becoming the first blind solo kayaker to travel the entire length of the Grand Canyon.

    February 18, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • MET021714spprak note.jpg Video: SPPRAK-ers spread message

    Six-year-old Sunny Santharam knows what kindness is.
    When his father Ram asked him the definition, Sunny quickly responded, “Be nice to everyone!”

    February 18, 2014 5 Photos 1 Video

  • MET021714sethboland.jpg Video: Full-time Eagle Scout

    Seth Boland poses with his Eagle Scout award at the stage extension he built in Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall. Boland had the help of family, friends and fellow scouts, taking parts of three weekends to build the structure.

    February 17, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Bull Run Comes to Middle America Space Station Shipment Launched From Virginia Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert' Wisconsin Cop Ready to Roll...On Skateboard Israel Deploys Ground Troops to Gaza Strip Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Giant Whale Vacuumed in New York City Hamburger Champion Downs 26 Burgers Lightning Kills Two in National Park in Colorado Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Raw: Truck Crash Spills Turkeys on Va. Highway Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison
NDN Video
Germany Wins The 2014 FIFA World Cup!!! RAW VIDEO: Stampede injures ten at Georgia World Congress Center Cellphone Video Shows Assault Tracy Morgan released from rehab month after crash LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity