Niles resident given probation for damaging police car

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

A Niles man was sentenced to probation for damaging a police car while under arrest.

Timothy Lee Thompson, 39, of Green Gables in Niles, pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of police or fire property and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for two days served, 90 days tether and $658 in fines and costs. He also pleaded guilty to disorderly person and reckless driving and was sentenced to $700 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred May 6, 2020, in Niles. He damaged the police car when he banged his head into something in the car. He’s also facing charges in Indiana from a separate incident.

Thompson said he has tried to get help for his bipolar/manic disorder mental health problems over the last several years but that it gets “the best of me every once in a while.” He said police had allowed him to be hospitalized in the past rather than putting him in jail as happened in this case.

“You were likely not on your medication when this happened,” Judge Schrock said. “Have you talked to your doctor about using alcohol and drugs and how that could affect the efficacy of your medications?”

“What you said to me that this time they didn’t take you to the hospital but charged you, it’s all on you,” he added. “When you don’t take your medications and take care of yourself, you can expect this to happen. Do mentally ill people belong in jail? No, but you have to make sure you’re taking your medications.”

A Benton Harbor man was sentenced to jail for a second offense drunk driving incident. Wade Sheldon Bradley, 43, of Downing in Benton Harbor, pleaded guilty to second offense and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for 19 days served and $250 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Aug. 24, 2020, at Second and Wayne streets in the city of Niles.

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock said he found reasonable cause to sentence Bradley to jail even though technically a jail sentence was not required.

“You absconded for a long period of time while you were awaiting sentencing,” the judge said. “You also face new felony drunk driving and other charges. Your drinking and driving creates an extraordinary risk for the community.”

Bradley said he had not been a fugitive and blamed situations beyond his control such as a fire in his home for his failure to appear for court proceedings.

A Niles Township man with an immigration hold on him was sentenced to fines and costs.

Ornaldo Alpuche-Jimenez, 26, of Old U.S. 31 in Niles, pleaded guilty to assault and battery reduced from second-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to $125 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Aug. 16, 2020, against an underage girl. Judge Schrock denied a prosecution request requiring the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Also Monday, Amanda Joy Lemna, 35, of Baldwin Drive in Niles, pleaded guilty to attempted resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to credit for six days served and $875 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Feb. 27, 2021, in Niles.

“I suspect that spending six days in jail was a wakeup call for your extraordinary abnormal behavior,” the judge said. “You need to take better care of yourself and not react in the way you reacted.”

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