Teen violates Swift & Sure, gets prison

Published 10:31 am Monday, May 15, 2017


Special to Leader Publications

A Three Rivers teen who stole an elderly woman’s car in Dowagiac after leaving the Swift & Sure Program is going to prison.

Joshua Michael Osmer, 19, of South Main Street in Three Rivers, pleaded guilty to unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle-conspiracy as habitual offender and was sentenced to two and a half years to seven and a half years in prison. He was sentenced to two to three years in prison for resisting and obstructing police as a habitual offender.

In addition, he was sentenced to a prison term of two and a half to seven and a half years for violating the terms of an October 2016 probation for unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle, fleeing police, resisting and obstructing police and possession of marijuana.

Osmer must pay $1,616 in fines and costs and $485 in restitution. He also faces sanctions from violating his parole from a 2014 conviction and prison sentence for two counts of unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle. The three prison sentences handed down Friday are concurrent to each other but consecutive to any sentence for the parole violation.

The incident occurred Feb. 7 in the 300 block of Cleveland Street in Dowagiac. Osmer and two co-defendants were arrested Feb. 10 when they were found by police after hiding out in the home of a relative of Osmer’s.

“He was given the chance to be part of the Swift & Sure program when he committed this crime and he really messed up,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tiffiny Vohwinkle said. “He went with two other men and stole a vehicle belonging to an 87-year-old woman. He damaged it and then hid from police.”

“He has been given multiple opportunities to change his ways but he continues to victimize the community,” she added.

Defense attorney Greg Feldman described Osmer as “a young man who still has a lot of growing up to do.” For his part, Osmer said he was thankful for the opportunity to be in the Swift & Sure program but had not been ready to make changes in his life. “Maybe prison will help me with discipline,” he said.

“Discipline has to come from within,” Cass Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “We all have bumps in the road in our lives. When you get to a bump, you have two choices. You can do something illegal or do something positive with your life.”

Judge Herman said he had no choice but to sentence Osmer to prison after he violated his Swift & Sure probation five times in six months and then committed another offense.

“At this point, you’re not ready to take responsibility,” he said. “It leaves the court no option.”

Osmer’s co-defendant, Tyler Ronnie Nickens, was sentenced to a year in jail for resisting and obstructing police and lying to a police officer. Nickens, 27, of South Main Street in Three Rivers, must pay $1,598 in fines and costs and also owes the $485 restitution for damage to the stolen car.

“He’s 27 years old and has already been sent to prison twice before,” Vohwinkle said. “He stole the vehicle, damaged it and hid from police. He was found hiding under a mattress with his feet sticking out. Frankly, it’s sad.”

Feldman emphasized the positive, that Nickens didn’t fight with police.

“He was not argumentative. He didn’t fight or spit. He gave himself up and was cooperative.”

Herman noted that Nickens has 10 felony convictions. “Since 2006, you’ve spent the bulk of your time in jail or prison,” he said.

In another sentencing, an Elkhart woman was sentenced to jail for meth related convictions.

Carly Ann Sandora, 26, of Lilac Street in Elkhart, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and lying to police officers and was sentenced to two concurrent terms of six months in jail. She must pay $1,676 in fines and costs. She has credit for 78 days already served.

The incident occurred Feb. 23 on U.S. 12 in Porter Township when Sandora’s car ran out of gas. She lied to police when they stopped by giving a fake name. They discovered meth in the car and also found that there were warrants out for her from Elkhart.

Sandora apologized for her actions.

“I’m very sorry,” she said. “I’m ashamed of my actions, it won’t happen again.”