Two Berrien County residents sentenced to probation Monday

NILES – Two area residents were sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court in Niles.

Rebecca Marie Key, 30, of Old U.S. 31 in Niles, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to two years’ probation and 90 days in jail with credit for 42 days served.

The incident occurred March 24 at a location in Niles Township. A charge of domestic violence was dismissed as part of the plea agreement, Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas DeRyke said.

In another sentencing, a Berrien Springs man was sentenced to probation and credit for time served.

Jordon Paul Lofton, 23, of N. Main Street in Berrien Springs, pleaded guilty to use of methamphetamines and resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to two years’ probation and credit for 57 days served.

The incident occurred March 24, 2019, in Oronoko Township when he was arrested for drugs and then resisted police.

was Lofton’s second criminal sentence in two months.

Lofton was sentenced in early March in Cass County Circuit Court. In that case, he was sentenced to jail on three felonies: third-degree home invasion, resisting and obstructing police and bribing/intimidating a witness. Those incidents occurred subsequent to the Berrien County incident.

Lofton said in March that drugs had been a problem for him since he was 12 or 13.

“I need to make better choices, find a job and a place to live,” he said.

Monday’s sentencings were again conducted under the guidelines issued by the Michigan Supreme Court in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As has been the case in recent weeks, no members of the public were allowed in the courtroom and the defendants appeared via closed circuit television from the jail.

The Michigan Supreme Court ordered local courts in March to limit access to courthouses and to postpone most court proceedings unless defendants are in jail. More recently, they ordered that no jury trials take place until after June 22.

In Berrien County, trial court officials have initiated measures to give the public access to information although the Niles and St. Joseph courthouses are closed. The trial court’s website gives people the opportunity to check the court calendars for civil, domestic, juvenile, probate and criminal cases as well as request videos of proceedings.

That website is berriencounty.org/1698/Court-Video-Request.