Dowagiac man sentenced to probation for home invasion

CASSOPOLIS – A Dowagiac man got some lucky breaks after breaking into a Dowagiac area home. He was among those who sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court. As has been the case the last few months, the sentencings were handled virtually with defendants appearing remotely.

Richard Lee Tindall, 32, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to third-degree home invasion and was sentenced Friday to two years’ probation, credit for 110 days already served, completion of the Twin County Probation program, $280.83 restitution and $2,268 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred March 1 when Tindall tried to break into an occupied home in Dowagiac. He left when the homeowner said they had a gun. They called police and Tindall was arrested at the scene. The homeowner said later that she had to buy new locks and has had trouble sleeping.

“He’s received a few lucky breaks in this case,” said defense attorney Robert Drake. “The homeowner had a gun and there was some level of intoxication involved. I’m glad he retreated when he did. He also benefited from the plea agreement. I feel it was a fair agreement.”

Cass Assistant Prosecutor DeVante McCullom urged Tindall to take his probation seriously.

“I hope he takes this opportunity seriously,” he said. “Without the plea agreement, he would be looking a possible prison sentence. He needs to take this seriously as a chance to better himself.”

Tindall apologized.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” he said. ”I realize I could have been shot. If it was the other way around, I would be scared of what happened. I wish could apologize to the homeowner. I take this as an eye opener way my life was going.”

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman said he hoped Tindall was serious in turning his life around.

“You got a heck of a break. Take it seriously,” he said. “With 10- to 23-month guidelines, you would be looking at a year in jail or short prison sentence given guidelines. Realize that you’re sitting here with prison guidelines. You have a gift here. I hope you’re serious and are able to get this behind you.”

Also Friday:

  • Joseph Alan Morsaw, 32, of Johnson Street in Cassopolis, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamines and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, credit for 21 days already served and $2,588 in fines and costs. His license is suspended for six months and he can get a restricted license after 30 days.

The incident occurred Dec. 2, 2019, when police stopped a car Morsaw was a passenger in. Morsaw gave a false name, and police found meth after a search.

“You have a history of drug abuse,” Judge Herman said. “It’s concerning to the court that you don’t think you have a drug addiction and that it doesn’t harm others. Most realize that when you use illegal drugs, you are harming others and you’re sorely mistaken if you don’t think it’s harm society.”

  • Travis John Frays, 30, of Williamsville Road in Vandalia, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamines as a habitual offender and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for 84 days already served and $2,268 in in fines and costs. His driver’s license was suspended for one year with a restricted license available after 60 days.

The incident occurred Dec. 16, 2019, when police found meth residue on him when he was at the Michigan Department of Corrections office in Cassopolis.

McCullom noted that Frays violated a previous probation and urged him to stay clean and not violate this time. Frays apologized for his actions and said that the birth of his daughter a few months ago has given him motivation to change.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

“When you were sentenced last in December 2018, I said you would end up back here if you didn’t make changes and we’re back here again,” Herman said. “I will go along with the recommendation for no more jail, but the guidelines call for 5 to 28 months. I sound like a broken record, but in reality, if you violate you’re seeing either a year in jail or prison. You’re really at that point.”

  • Ryan Joseph Ferrier, 31, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, credit for 65 days already served and $2,148 in fines and costs. He received concurrent terms of 65 days already served and $700 in fines and costs for reckless driving and failure to report an accident.

The incident occurred March 25, 2019, when he had an accident at Yaw and California streets in Dowagiac. His car went airborne and ended up between two trees after he was speeding. A passenger in the car was injured. Ferrier initially said the car had been stolen.

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