Four sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court
Published 11:41 am Monday, January 31, 2022
NILES – Four area residents were sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court on drug, weapon and other charges.
Rusty Shane Clark, 34, of Hickory Street in Niles, pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for two days served and $958 in fines and costs.
He also pleaded guilty to operating with a high blood alcohol level and was sentenced to credit for three days served, 12 months mandatory counseling and $125 in fines and costs.
Both offenses occurred Nov. 13, 2021, in Berrien Springs.
Clark said he regretted his actions and “really made bad choices.”
“I want to turn my life around,” he told Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock. “I knew the gun was in the car and I didn’t take the initiative to do what I should have done. I was drinking heavily.”
Defense attorney Brian Wojtowicz said his client will benefit from probationary services.
“He hasn’t had a drink or used marijuana since the incident,” he said. “He continues to work on his recovery and he’s also seeing a therapist at Riverwood.”
“He’s used this incident as a wakeup call to get his life back on track,” the attorney added. “He used alcohol heavily during the pandemic and it got worse and worse. Luckily nothing worse happened here.”
Erica Marie Prince, 43, of Mishawaka, pleaded guilty to attempted uttering and publishing and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for eight days served and $4,653 in fines, costs and restitution. Of that number, $3,995 is restitution to Honor Credit Union.
The incident occurred Nov. 29, 2019, in Niles Township.
Defense attorney Scott Sanford said Prince has a good job and a stable residence. Prince said she made a huge mistake in committing this offense but stated that she did not take the money to support a drug habit.
Idrees Shaquille Tidwell, 24, of Mishawaka, pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile and was sentenced to credit for seven days already served and $1,008 in fines and costs. He must also forfeit the weapon.
The incident occurred Sept. 1, 2021, on U.S. 12 near High Bridge Road in Bertrand Township. When police stopped his car, they found a weapon with the serial number filed off.
“It’s an error in judgment, not a mistake,” Judge Schrock said. “I hope you learned your lesson.”
Robert Clifton Tucker, 43, of Niles-Buchanan Road in Buchanan, pleaded guilty to use of methamphetamines and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for three days served and $125 in fines and costs.
The incident occurred July 17, 2021, in Buchanan. His sentence here is consecutive to anything he may have to serve for violating his parole terms from a previous conviction.
Defense attorney Carri Briseno said that Tucker cooperated with police when they came to search his residence.