Dowagiac man sentenced to one year in county jail

CASSOPOLIS – A Dowagiac man who broke into his girlfriend’s home and assaulted her was sentenced Friday in Cass Circuit Court to a year in the county jail.

Cody Wilson, 22, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to third-degree home invasion as a habitual offender and domestic violence. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail on the home invasion charge and 93 days in jail on the domestic violence charge.

Wilson has credit for 156 days already served. He must pay $1,848 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred May 5 at a residence in the 300 block of N. Lowe Street in Dowagiac. He kicked in the woman’s door and physically assaulted her.

“At age 22, this is your third felony conviction,” Cass Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “You need to control your temper or go to prison. Today, you could get prison as it is a straddle cell guideline, but I look at your age and will give you a chance.”

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tiffiny Vohwinkle said Wilson was out on probation when this incident occurred.

“You’re using drugs and hanging out with gang members,” she said. “You use meth every day. As the judge often asks, what’s that done for you? It got you here.”

In other sentencings:

• An Elkhart man who drove drunk because his wife was even drunker was sentenced to probation and jail.

Raymond Rose, 49, of Elkhart, pleaded guilty to third offense drunk driving and was sentenced to three years probation, 365 days jail, 480 hours of community service and $2,238 in fines, costs and restitution. He has credit for 88 days already served and can serve the final 120 days in the Twin County Probation Program.

His license was revoked and his car ordered immobilized.

The incident occurred March 17 on US-12 in Mason Township. His blood alcohol content was .19, more than twice the legal limit. Rose was seen driving recklessly, had gone off the road twice and crossed the center line. A bottle of vodka was found in the car.

“You said you were driving because your wife was too drunk to drive,” Judge Herman said. “I wonder how you can tell if you were drunk yourself.”

Herman noted that Rose has 20 prior convictions, got his first drunk driving conviction in 1987 and had been to prison in Indiana at least once.

• A Dowagiac man who defrauded the Dowagiac Housing Commission was sentenced to probation and can stay out of jail if he pays off more than $23,000 in restitution.

Autuonne Lamar Belk, 39, of Gray Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to false pretenses over $20,000 and was sentenced to five years probation, 365 days in jail and $2,048 in fines and costs. He must pay $23,263 in restitution. The jail sentence is suspended pending the successful completion of his probation.

The incident occurred between May 2016 and December 2017 when he continued to receive rent money from the housing commission after he had moved out. He previously served a prison term for a similar offense in Kent County.

“You could go to prison today but that wouldn’t accomplish our goal of you paying back the restitution,” Herman said. “But this offense is serious. If you don’t make a good faith effort, prison is an option.”

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