Resident from Grand Rapids sentenced in Cass County Court

Published 9:30 am Monday, July 15, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — A Grand Rapids area man who stole checks from his

Paul Knapp

Jearold Dayhuff

Ices Smith

Christian Vollmer

grandmother was sentenced to prison Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

Paul Charles Knapp, 27, of Wyoming, Michigan, pleaded guilty to forgery as a habitual offender and was sentenced Friday to two to 14 years in prison with credit for 14 days already served. He must pay $2,600 in restitution and $1,548 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred April 27 in Dowagiac when he stole checks from his grandmother and forged her signature to pay off his debts.

“The victim has said that he hurt her more than he realized when he stole the checks to take care of his debts,” said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tiffiny Vohwinkle. “She’s disgusted and embarrassed that he lied to her. This has directly impacted his grandmother who has helped him in the past.”

Vohwinkle noted that Knapp now has 14 adult convictions including four felonies. He recently pleaded guilty to another felony in Kent County where he awaits sentencing for third offense domestic violence.

Knapp apologized in court Friday and said he had not been thinking clearly when he stole from his grandmother.

“I shouldn’t have done it,” he said. “I’ve apologized to her and told her I would repay her. … It’s going to take a lifetime to regain my family’s trust. I shouldn’t have done it and I regret it.”

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman described Knapp’s past criminal record as “extremely assaultive” and said he felt that prison was an appropriate sentence in this case.

In another sentencing, a Dowagiac woman was sentenced to probation for trying to pass a forged check.

Ices Myneke Smith, 23, of E. Telegraph Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to uttering and publishing and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for 54 days already served, restitution of $381.43 to Northside Food & Liquor and fines and costs of $1,788.

The incident occurred Dec. 1, 2017, when Smith presented a forged check from Industrial Staffing to Northside Food & Liquor.

“You are 23, have two children and are pregnant,” Judge Herman said to Smith. “You had misdemeanors and now have a felony. Do you think you can steal your way to wealth? It always costs more when you steal. You have to make changes in your life. Either you stop stealing or the court will be raising your children.”

Also Friday, two Indiana men received probation sentences, and another was sentenced to jail.

• Jearold Stephen Dayhuff, 49, of Michigan City, Indiana, pleaded guilty to attempted failure to register as a sex offender and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, credit for 134 days already served and $1,728 in fines and costs. He must register as a sex offender.

The incident occurred Aug. 3 in Dowagiac when police discovered that Dayhuff had moved to Indiana without notifying authorities. He also faces similar failure to register charges in Indiana.

• Christian Nathaniel Vollmer, 25, of Osceola, Indiana, pleaded guilty to attempted carrying a concealed weapon and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, credit for three days already served and $1,728 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred May 20 when police stopped him for speeding on Redfield Road near Martin Road in Edwardsburg. A search of the car uncovered both marijuana and a gun in the vehicle which Vollmer said he had for personal protection.

“You’re 25, and you now have a felony on your record,” Judge Herman said. “You’re reaching the age when you need to get focused in your life or have substantial jail time. At this point, the decision is yours. You can get your life back on track or serve more time in jail.”

• In a separate sentencing, a Jones man was sentenced to jail for violating his probation from a June 2018 drug conviction.

Adam Wesley Coleman, 38, of M-40 in Jones, pleaded guilty to violating his probation from a June 15, 2018, conviction for possession of cocaine as a habitual offender and was sentenced to 365 days in jail with credit for 252 days already served. His probation was revoked.

Coleman has completed a number of probation programs but then goes back to using drugs, according to the court.

“We’ve given you all the tools, you have to make the commitment to change,” Herman told him.